Villa Maria College, Christchurch

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Villa Maria College
21 Peer Street
Upper Riccarton
Christchurch 8041
New Zealand
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Type State integrated single-sex girls secondary (year 7–13) school
Motto Learn to prize what is of value
Established 1918; 102 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no. 326
Principal Deborah Brosnahan[1]
School roll 812[2] (March 2016)
Socio-economic decile 9Q[3]

Villa Maria College, Christchurch, New Zealand was opened on 18 February 1918 with 14 pupils. It was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and served as a parish school when boys were admitted in 1921. From 1941 the school reverted to being a girl's college. Villa Maria College is a day school but it also had boarders between 1935 and 1979. In 1981, the college was integrated into the New Zealand state school system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 but its proprietors remain the Sisters of Mercy (through the Sisters of Mercy Trust Board).


Villa Maria College has six houses:

McAuley (yellow)

Brodie (orange)

Claver (purple)

Grace (blue)

Ennis (green)

Mercy (red)


In the 2001 Birthday Honours, former principal Sister Pauline Margaret O'Regan was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DCNZM). She had left the school and the convent in 1973 to work within Christchurch's poorer communities.[4][5]

Notable alumnae


  1. "Schools with new principals", NZ Catholic, 10 March 2013, p. 4.
  2. "Directory of Schools - as at 18 April 2016". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2015-04-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Reinstating titular honours – what the honourees are saying". The New Zealand Herald. 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. "I put a lot of thought into accepting the first honour. It seems enough, to be honest. I'm perfectly comfortable with the situation as it stands.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "DPMC – New Zealand Honours". 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Title to Villa Maria". The Press. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 24 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Christchurch gymnast Courtney McGregor wins bronze before Olympic test event". The Press. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Grace Prendergast". New Zealand Secondary School Rowing Association. Retrieved 19 March 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Villa Maria College golden jubilee, 1918–1968 Christchurch, 1968.
  • Mary Declan Burke RSM, Mercy through the years : the centennial history of the Sisters of Mercy, Christchurch Diocese, 1878–1978, Sisters of Mercy Trust Board, Christchurch, 1978.
  • Michael O'Meeghan S.M., Held firm by faith : a history of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, 1840–1987, Catholic Diocese of Christchurch, Christchurch, 1988.
  • Villa Maria College, seventy-five years, 1918–1993, Villa Maria College, Christchurch, 1993.
  • Michael King, God's farthest outpost : a history of Catholics in New Zealand, Viking, Auckland 1997.