1915 – 25
On 1 February 1915 the Auckland Presbyterian Ladies College opened its doors in Stokes Road Mt Eden to 190 students, 38 of whom were boarders.

A name change to St Cuthbert’s College followed shortly thereafter and the College motto By Love Serve was chosen by the first Principal Miss Isobel Macdonald. The name and the motto remain at the heart of the College 100 years later.

In 1925 at the end of the College’s first decade St Cuthbert’s moved to a new site at Market Road in Epsom where the Robertson Building was opened on 28 April 1925 by Governor General Sir Charles Fergusson and Mr James Robertson, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

1926 – 35
The College flourished at its new site, though the Great Depression of the early 1930s meant the roll declined briefly.

The new Runciman Swimming Pool opened in 1927 allowing the annual swimming sports competition to be held on site. Countless St Cuthbert’s girls earned their lifesaving badges in the pool under the guidance of Miss Margaret Beale.

In 1932 a House system of competition instead of form competition was introduced by Principal Miss Clouston. The Houses were named Dunblane, Elgin and Melrose all of which had associations with St Cuthbert.

1936 – 45
In 1936 St Cuthbert’s College celebrated its 21st birthday with a special service at St David’s Presbyterian Church in Khyber Pass and the first performance of The Cross of St Cuthbert, a play written by staff member Miss Kathleen Goulding.

The Black Watch regiment gifted the use of its tartan to the College in 1936 and St Cuthbert’s College proudly wears Black Watch tartan in our uniform today.

The outbreak of WWII in 1939 meant our girls were busy knitting and making parcels for the soldiers. Blackout curtains, slit trenches and air raid drills became part of life, for Boarders especially.

1946 – 55
Expansion and change mark this decade. Miss Clouston retired in 1948 after 27 years as Principal and Miss Violet Wood was appointed to the position.


The College roll increased, there was more emphasis on academic results with students staying on longer at the College to sit the newly introduced School Certificate and the science laboratories were upgraded.

In 1955 the first major addition to the College site at Market Road, Clouston Hall, was opened. This was a new assembly hall furnished by the Old Girls’ Association, which could accommodate the whole school for assemblies, prizegiving and services.

1956 – 65
A belfry for the Bews Bell presented to the College in 1945 was constructed in 1958 outside the new Clouston Hall. It is traditional for Year 13 leavers to ring the bell at the end of their time at the College.

Three new houses: Iona, Kelso, Lindisfarne were formed in 1962.

The Golden Jubilee of the College was celebrated in 1965. The Parents’ Association gifted a Frances Hodgkins painting to the College creating the beginnings of a significant art collection.

1966 – 75
Miss Wood retired in 1968 and Miss Joan Holland was appointed as the fourth Principal of St Cuthbert’s College.

A Student Council consisting of representatives from many levels in the College was introduced in 1973. Committees with special areas of responsibility were formed, involving senior students in leadership roles, a tradition that has grown with leadership roles at all year levels today.


In 1975 St Cuthbert’s was 60 years old and celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with the opening of a Music Centre and a new classroom block named the Hunter Building after Mrs Jean Hunter, who was a foundation pupil, staff member and first woman on the Board.


1976 – 85
This was an era of expansion under the Board led by Mr John Wigglesworth, culminating in 1983 with a new sports centre named after him.

Fittingly the number of sports at St Cuthbert’s also increased markedly in the late 70s and early 80s with badminton, squash, softball, fencing and basketball added to the more usual tennis, hockey, netball and swimming.

In this decade the 7th Form (Year 13) were able to choose their own uniform for their last year at school and this resulted in some interesting results when viewed 30 to 40 years on.

In 1983 computers were introduced to the College with the Parents and Friends’ Association and the St Cuthbert’s Foundation assisting with the $75,000 cost.

1986 – 95
A new Melrose Boarding House was built and opened in 1987 for senior Boarders at the College. In that same year a pilgrimage “In the Footsteps of St Cuthbert” took place, commemorating the saint’s death 1300 years ago.

Miss Holland retired at the end of the first term in 1989 and in the second term Mrs Frances Compton was appointed.

1990 was the 75th Jubilee and once again much effort and collaboration went into a memorable Gala Day. As a result the College pool was covered and added to, the David Ellis Block with purpose-built art and resource rooms was opened and a mezzanine floor was added to Clouston Hall to accommodate the increased roll.

In 1993 the Old Girls’ Chapel was opened and a College Chaplain, Rev. Gaye Churchill, was appointed.

1996 – 2005
In 1996 Mrs Lynda Reid was appointed to the College as Principal.

In 1998 the National Qualifications Framework was formally implemented at St Cuthbert’s and in 2001 Mrs Reid was amongst the first secondary school principals to express support for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), now recognised internationally.

In 2005 our 90th birthday was celebrated with a Trio of Turfs to support our girls sporting endeavours, which saw a new hockey turf and two new netball and tennis court complexes added to the College’s facilities.

2006 – 2015
Year 10 students in 2008 were the first to undertake experiential learning at our remote campus, Kahunui. Here the students live and learn as a community for four weeks. This programme is unique and earned the Education Outdoors New Zealand Best Programme Award for 2009.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme was introduced in the Senior School in 2010, giving students a choice of two qualifications.

A Senior Academy was established in 2012 and gives girls in their final two years at the College a distinct identity as leaders at St Cuthbert’s. In 2013 a new Middle School was established for Year 7 and 8 students so the College now has a Junior School (Reception – Year 6), Middle School (Year 7 and 8) and Senior School (Year 9 – 13).

Two new houses, Durham and York, were added to the College House system.

In 2011 a new Performing Arts Centre was opened to support the music, dance and drama ambitions of our students. In 2014 the Centennial Centre for Wellbeing was the latest facility added to the College campus.


This centre was specifically designed to nurture the mental and physical wellbeing of our students, supporting the College’s philosophy of a healthy mind in a healthy body.

In 2015 St Cuthbert’s College celebrated its 100th birthday with Old Girls gathering from far and wide and the students enjoying a 100th birthday cake.


2016 and beyond

Mrs Lynda Reid retires after 20 years as Principal of St Cuthbert’s. Ms Roz Mexted is appointed to the role from 2017. In 2018 Ms Justine Mahon becomes the first Old Girl to be appointed as Principal.