Nelson College is the oldest state secondary school in New Zealand. It is an all-boys school in the City of Nelson that teaches from years 9 to 13. In addition, it runs a private preparatory school for year 7 and 8 boys. The school also has places for boarders, who live in two boarding houses adjacent to the main school buildings on the same campus.
67 Waimea Road
|Type||State secondary, day and boarding|
|Motto||Pietas Probitas et Sapientia|
(Loyalty, honesty and wisdom)
|Established||1856; 165 years ago|
|Sister school||Nelson College for Girls|
|Ministry of Education Institution no.||294|
|School roll||977 (March 2021)|
The school opened with eight students on 7 April 1856 in premises in Trafalgar Square, Nelson, but shortly thereafter moved to a site in Manuka Street. In 1861, the school moved again to its current site in Waimea Road. The Deed of Foundation was signed in 1857 and set out the curriculum to be followed by the College. It included English language and literature, one or more modern languages, geography, mathematics, classics, history, drawing, music and such other branches of science as the Council of Governors should determine. The Deed stated that the purpose of the school was the "advancement of religion and morality, and the promotion of useful knowledge, by offering to the youth of the Province general education of a superior character."
In 1858, the General Assembly passed the Nelson College Act, which confirmed the status of the school. There were nine initial trustees, including Charles Elliott, David Monro, John Barnicoat, Charles Bigg Wither, William Wells, and Alfred Domett. In that same year, Alfred Fell gifted the common seal, containing the college's badge and motto, "Pietas, Probitas et Sapientia" (Loyalty, honesty and wisdom). A team from Nelson College took part in the first game of rugby played in New Zealand, against the Nelson Rugby Football Club on 14 May 1870 at what is now known as the Botanic Reserve, Nelson, and, in 1876, the first inter-College rugby match in New Zealand was played between Nelson College and Wellington College.
On 7 December 1904, the College was almost completely destroyed by fire. The main building, designed by William Beatson, was said to be a "miniature of Eton," the architect being an old Etonian. In 1926, Nelson College was invited to join the annual rugby tournament between Christ's College, Wanganui Collegiate School and Wellington College, known as the "Quadrangular". In the 1929 Murchison earthquake, the main building of the College was once again severely damaged, although only two boys were injured.
In 2011, Nelson College became the first all-boys college in New Zealand to form a gay-straight alliance support group. The alliance operated from its own room. In 2017, the group was re-formed, after a failed attempt in 2015.
The College has a house system with, as of 16 May 2019,[update] six different houses that compete across a range of sporting codes including cross country running and swimming together with varied cultural activities:
- Barnicoat-Rutherford Combined (White & Black)
- Chaytor (Red)
- Domett (Green)
- Monro (Blue)
- Robinson (Orange)
- Kahurangi (Yellow)
The two boarding houses, Rutherford and Barnicoat, recently underwent a five-year refurbishment. A third boarding house, Fell, was closed to boarders at the end of 2018, and is now available for lease, predominantly to sports and community groups.
- Gilbert Archey, zoologist, museum director, ethnologist
- Edmond de Montalk, language teacher, storekeeper
- Andrew Goodman, rugby union player
- John Gully, artist
- Wilfrid Nelson Isaac, jeweller, art school director
- Frank Milner, school principal, educationalist
- Harold Nelson, athlete
- William Sutch, economist, public servant
- Matthew Toynbee, cricketer
|1||John Charles Bagshaw||1856–1858|
|4||John Danforth Greenwood||1863–1865|
|5||Charles Lendrick MacLean||1866–1868|
|6||Frank Churchill Simmons||1868–1876|
|7||John Chapman Andrew||1876–1886|
|8||William Justice Ford||1886–1888|
|9||John William Joynt||1889–1898|
|10||William Still Littlejohn||1899–1903|
|11||Harry Lewis Fowler||1904–1921|
|12||Charles Harrington Broad||1922–1933|
|13||Herbert Victor Searle||1933–1956|
|14||Basil Henry Wakelin||1957–1969|
|15||E.J. "Doug" Brewster||1970–1981|
- Harry Atkinson, socialist
- Michael Baigent, writer
- Tim Bell, computer scientist
- Leo Bensemann, artist
- Ethan Blackadder, rugby union player
- Wallace Chapman, TV & radio presenter
- Wyatt Crockett, rugby union player
- Mitchell Drummond, rugby union player
- Jock Edwards, cricketer
- Henry Fa'arodo, footballer
- Leicester Fainga'anuku, rugby union player
- David Havili, rugby union player
- William Hudson, civil engineer
- Mitchell Hunt, rugby union player
- Syd Jackson, Māori activist
- Jang Keun-suk, Korean actor, singer, and model
- Phill Jones, basketballer
- Gerald R. Leighton, zoologist
- James Lowe, rugby union player
- Nev MacEwan, rugby union player
- Don McKinnon, former Commonwealth Secretary-General
- Simon Mannering, rugby league player
- James Marshall, rugby union player
- Kerry Marshall, former Mayor of Richmond borough, Tasman and Nelson
- Julian Matthews, middle distance athlete
- Ben May, rugby union player
- Charles Monro, introduced rugby to New Zealand
- Tex Morton, singer
- Jack Newman, cricketer and businessman
- Geoffrey Palmer, former Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Jared Payne, rugby union player
- Wallace (Bill) Rowling, former Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, Nobel laureate, chemist and physicist
- Rex Sellers, sailor
- Fletcher Smith, rugby union player
- Leonard Trent, Battle of Britain pilot and Victoria Cross recipient
- Mika Vukona, basketballer
- Guy Williams, comedian
- Harry Wollaston, senior Australian public servant
- "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
- "First state secondary school opens". New Zealand History. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- "1870s". New Zealand Rugby Museum. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "New Zealand's First Game of Rugby". theprow.org.nz. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- L.R. Palmer, "A Short History of Nelson College". In: "Nelson College Old Boys' Register 1856–1981" (5th edn.)
- "Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Nelson Trust Funds, for the Year Ending 21st December, 1857". The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle. XVII (3). 9 January 1858. p. 2. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- "The Evening Post", 8 December 1904
- Roberts, Adam (6 April 2011). "Boys' college backs gay, straight students". The Nelson Mail. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- More girls needed in boys school, outgoing headmaster says
- Jones, Katy (1 November 2018). "New lease of life for old boarding house". Nelson Mail. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
- Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition (CD-ROM).
- "O'Shea for head". The Press. 5 July 2006. p. 4.
- "Dr. Wallaston". The Week. Brisbane, Queensland. 18 February 1912. p. 13.