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Our Story

From the classroom windows we gaze out across the sea to Cape Kidnappers and from another we are able to see Westshore. These views uplift our spirits and make us smile and realise how lucky we are. In 1867 the view from this position would have been very different. Just as the forces of nature have shaped and altered the physical landscape, the changes in education and society in the past 150 years have altered the way Sacred Heart College operates. What does remain the same though is the vision, the passion and the zeal that Euphrasie Barbier had when establishing her congregation. We may not be a large school but we have a proud history and a future full of promise.

Sacred Heart College, Napier on its present site in Convent Road was founded by The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions. In 1867 the school for ‘Young Ladies’ that would eventually become known as Sacred Heart College was blessed and opened. It was the first Catholic school and hostel established by the Sisters in New Zealand.


Amazingly, the original buildings withstood the earthquake of 1931. During the 1990’s, the whole site was re-planned, new buildings erected and existing ones upgraded. The new Barbier and Marian blocks were blessed and opened, and Ross and Dennehy blocks were updated and rededicated. A full-sized gymnasium followed, named after Sister Mary Rose Holderness. On June 30 2001 the convent building, the chapel and a section of the hostel were destroyed by fire. During 2009 a major technology and social science upgrade was completed and the buildings were opened by Bishop Peter Cullinane in February 2010.


The boarding hostel, opened around 1867, was finally closed on 1st April 2010. The hostel buildings and the Cultural Centre were demolished at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 and a new sacred space and hall has been built on the site. The Mission Centre was opened by Bishop Deuhein in 2016.


The College is now administered by the Diocese of Palmerston North. 


For its first one hundred years the College was staffed predominantly by the Sisters. Sister Mary Rose who completed her term in 1998 was the last Mission Sister to be Principal. Sister Colleen retired at the end of 2014 and was the last Mission Sister teacher. The current staff of the College continue to uphold the missionary spirit of the Sisters in today’s modern environment.