St Patrick’s College is a Catholic Integrated boys College situated on an attractive site near the sea at Kilbirnie. Students come to the College from every part of Wellington, and in some cases from as far north as Waikanae and the Hutt Valley.
The College carries the name of St Patrick, the great saint of Ireland. Much of Patrick’s life is shrouded in mystery and legend. He was probably born around 385 AD, and as a young man was taken captive to Ireland as a slave. As a slave he worked as a herdsman, until he escaped to France. There he prepared for the priesthood, and was ordained Bishop of Ireland.
Patrick returned to Ireland where he converted many people and organised the church throughout the country. Patrick is thought to have died in 461 AD and to be buried in Downpatrick. St Patrick’s College was founded by Archbishop Francis Redwood SM in 1885. It was one of the first fruits of the Society of Mary (Marists) whose members played such a prominent part in the establishment of the Catholic faith in New Zealand. The College was first staffed by Irish Marists whose zeal, drive and enthusiasm caught the imagination of the Catholic population of New Zealand. In 1931 the boarding section of St Pat’s was transferred to Silverstream, to allow room for the expanding numbers of students on the Cambridge Terrace site.
This decision gave rise to St Pat’s Town and St Pat’s Silverstream, the two St Patrick’s Colleges linked by their common name, history, and the many competitive and co-operative events in which they participate together. In 1979 St Patrick’s College shifted from its Cambridge Terrace site to new purpose-built facilities adjacent to Kilbirnie Park and Evans Bay. These facilities have given the College a standard of accommodation far superior to that of many other schools.