Wellington College (New Zealand)

Wellington College

Firth Hall on the left with the school hall on the right
Lumen accipe et imperti
Receive The Light And Pass It On
Dufferin Street
Mount Victoria

Wellington, 6021
New Zealand
Coordinates 41°18′13″S 174°46′57″E / 41.30361°S 174.78250°E / -41.30361; 174.78250Coordinates: 41°18′13″S 174°46′57″E / 41.30361°S 174.78250°E / -41.30361; 174.78250
Type State Secondary
Established 1867
Ministry of Education Institution no. 275
Headmaster Roger Moses
Years 913
Gender Boys
School roll 1658[1] (July 2016)
Socio-economic decile 10Z[2]
Website www.wellington-college.school.nz

Wellington College is a boys secondary school in the Wellington, New Zealand suburb of Mount Victoria.


Opening of the Memorial Hall, Wellington College
Cricket game at Wellington College, c. 1900

Wellington College opened in 1867 as Wellington Grammar School in Woodward Street, though Sir George Grey gave the school a deed of endowment in 1853. In 1869 the school moved to a new, spired, wooden building on the hills above the central city in Clifton Terrace from where it could be seen from many places in Wellington.[3] In 1874 the college opened in a much larger building at its present location. The former boarding establishment at the College, Firth House, was named after Joseph Firth, the headmaster from 1892 to 1921.

Wellington College's Pavilion, Firth House and the Gifford Observatory were opened on 1 December, 1924. The War Memorial Hall was opened on 2 March, 1928, financially supported by £6000 from the Old Boys' Association.[4] The War Memorial Hall and classroom wings were demolished by the Ministry of Works and replaced in the 1960s with a new hall and seven-storey Tower classroom block due to its lack of earthquake reinforcements. The stained glass window from the front of the War Memorial Hall is now located in the front of the existing hall.

During the 1970s the Maths, Library and Technology blocks were opened, replacing the last of the War Memorial Hall building and classroom wings that opened in 1928. Also, the Old Boys Gymnasium was built on the eastern boundary of the campus replacing the swimming pool.

In 1980 Firth House was demolished to make way for a new gymnasium which opened in 1982. 1987 saw the opening of the Arts and Music block, and the Brierley Theatre, named after old boy Ron Brierley.

The first dedicated computer rooms in the College opened in 1992 in a new building located behind the school hall.

2001 saw the opening of the Science block, on the western boundary of the campus. In 2008 the Languages block opened, also located on the western boundary.

The campus also has many prefabricated buildings, some functioning as offices and some as classrooms.

The only "historical" buildings remaining on campus to this day are Firth Hall, the Pavilion and the Gifford Observatory.

In 2016, the College Hall was demolished to make way for a larger Assembly Hall and Performing Arts Centre, which would be able to hold the entire school with its growing population. In preparation for this, the staffroom was moved to Firth Hall, the Uniform Shop opened a new premise next to the Archives, and the Computer Block was opened on the first floor of Tower Block. Construction on the new hall commenced in September 2016, starting with the removal of the Memorial Window.


Wellington College's enrolment zone mainly covers the central and western suburbs of Wellington (Rongotai College serves the southeastern suburbs, and Onslow College the northern suburbs).

Each year the school's rugby team plays in a competition with Nelson College, Christ's College, and Wanganui Collegiate School known as the "Quadrangular Tournament". Wellington are the reigning champions of this tournament and have been since 2003. Their current winning streak of ten titles in a row is the longest in the tournament's history.[5]

The school also competes in a local athletics competition known as "McEvedy Shield" along with St. Patrick's College (Town), St. Patrick's College, Silverstream and Rongotai College. Historically, Wellington College have won the shield 50 times since 1922, more than any other school.[6] They are the current champions of the McEvedy Shield, winning back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.

It is next to Wellington East Girls' College, also in Mount Victoria, and shares with that college the Gifford Observatory. Although Wellington College is situated next to Wellington East Girls' College, its sister college is Wellington Girls' College located in Thorndon.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Wellington College earned the highest number of scholarships in the New Zealand scholarship exams.[7]

Board of Trustees

The Wellington College Board of Trustees consists of twelve elected and appointed members.[8]

Notable alumni

The Arts

Broadcasting & journalism


Public service




2. A.W Beasley, The Light Accepted : 125 Years of Wellington College, Board of Trustees of Wellington College, Wellington, 1992

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