Wellington Scoop

Marsden celebrates 140 years

Press Release – Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has been celebrating its 140th birthday in style this year with a variety of occasions, starting with a wonderful pōwhiri welcoming new students and Principal Narelle Umbers.

A full school Service at Wellington’s Cathedral of St Paul was enjoyed by the Marsden School community, with Year 1-13 students preforming the school waiata Hamuera Matene, composed by Year 10 student Araraina Takuira-Mita, to spontaneous applause at its end. Historic images of the school have been enjoyed throughout the year, many providing a backdrop of Karori in its day, and a very visible symbol marking Marsden’s 140th year has been the beautiful Marsden korowai (designed by Jared Riwai-Couch) worn by Principal Narelle Umbers at her Commissioning, 2018 Head Girl Bella O’Meeghan at the Year 13 Induction Service and last week by Anjali Gentejohann, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Dux 2018.

Opening of the Samuel Marsden Collegiate School campus, Karori 1926

Established in 1878 by Mrs Mary Ann Swainson as a day and boarding school for girls from Wellington and the surrounding country areas, Samuel Marsden Collegiate was known as the Fitzherbert Terrace School. In 1920, the school was purchased by the Anglican Diocese of Wellington. It moved to Karori and was given its present name commemorating the first Anglican missionary to New Zealand.

Marsden School has always focused on preparing young women for their world. Today this means laying the foundations for lives of meaning, accomplishment and genuine happiness; equipping them with the skills and resilience needed to excel in the rapidly changing world, and giving them the ability to influence positive social change. Future focused learning and teaching is explicit at Marsden and developing and sustaining student wellbeing through all that Positive Education brings has always been a priority, making Marsden a clear educational choice for girls in Wellington.

“If our girls develop a renewed sense of their inherent value; a deeper, better understanding of what it means to be and do their best – to celebrate that, appreciating that expressions of excellence differ, then we’ll know we’re on our way to achieving our vision. That of equipping our young graduates who we have nurtured here, to take on the world”, said Principal Narelle Umbers.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has been providing quality independent education for 140 years. Marsden has two campuses. The Marsden School Karori campus provides education for girls from Years 1 to 13 and has a co-ed Preschool. Marsden Whitby provides education for boys and girls Years 7–13. As a not-for-profit organisation Marsden School expresses its mission in terms of what it ultimately wants to achieve for its students. That is to lay the foundations for lives of meaning, accomplishment and genuine happiness. Marsden develops confident, independent, creative, lifelong learners who are challenged to reach their academic and personal potential in a warm and supportive environment underpinned by Christian values.


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