View this email in your browser
Facebook Facebook
LinkedIn LinkedIn
Website Website
Responsible for continuing the history and traditions of Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. 

St Mary's College's Alumni's purpose is to reconnect with both current and old students, parents, caregivers, current and past staff, and the wider Catholic college community. We welcome anyone who has an interest in supporting and engaging with the College. 
St Mary's College Alumni 'Star' Newsletter
April 2022
Kia Ora and welcome,

We warmly welcome the wider college community to the St Mary's College Alumni. We encourage you to pop over to our Alumni community homepage on the St Mary's College website or join us through our social media channels, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages.

Over the last four weeks, the wider College community proudly personified resilience and commitment. They were certainly tested as they faced COVID (Omicron) head-on and the occupation at Parliament. I am pleased to share that the College is now settling down, where both students and the wider St Mary's College faculty are resetting and finding a new norm.

In conclusion, we are now coming to the end of Term 1. The College will close on Thursday 14 April and reopen on Monday 2 May 2022.

We wish all families a safe and relaxing Easter break.  May the risen Christ bring you and your loved ones plentiful joy. Happy Easter. May the risen Lord bless you with all riches and bring lots of abundant contentment to you and your extended family. Have a blessed Easter.
Kia ora e te whanau,
Our life is like a pilgrimage - each day the Lord says come follow me and invites us to walk with him. This Lent following the Way of the Lord has been challenging. Lent is always a time to pay closer attention to the word of God, a time of grace and reconciliation. As in 2021, the season of Lent is observed during COVID-19. Protests throughout the country calling for an end to vaccine mandates were causing tension for us all.
"We came into the world to unite our souls with God". During this time of COVID and protests, perhaps the gift of this Lent in 2022 will be to focus on looking for and receiving God's grace.

Over the last few weeks, I praised our students and staff for their current efforts to ‘Be Mercy' and work in the hybrid model while our school community continues to have positive cases and household isolation. I am so proud of our students for making plans with optimism, despite the fact that those intentions could be thwarted at any time.

The Ministry of Education announced at the end of last year that the next triennial election would be postponed to allow for consultation on and publication of new laws for online voting.

Click the below link to read the full article.

St Mary's College understands the true meaning of fundraising. From our archives, it has been well documented that when times are tough, we dig deep.

Our story has not changed much, being that, St Mary’s still relies on payment of fees by parents and donations from the small Catholic community in Wellington.  The early newspaper Wellington Independent on July 1868 ran an advertisement for a forthcoming sale of curiosities which would contain   “rare and exquisite specimens of art not often to be seen in this hemisphere”.  The sale was for “the purpose of raising the necessary funds for the completion of St Mary’s Convent School .” 

By the 1870s the original building with its many additions was in need of replacement.  The 1877 Education Act made education in New Zealand secular, compulsory and free.  This meant that a school like St Mary’s could not be financed by the government.

It was through the Sisters of Mercy that they found funds, and over the following years, elaborate bazaars were held to defray the cost of the new buildings.   Raffles were run.  A report in The Evening Post from one such bazaar in 1879 stated. “The art union prizes were varied and numerous, ranging from a gold watch to a washing machine, and excited considerable attention.”   An 1879 washing machine!

Fifty years later it became necessary to build more classrooms to accommodate the growing school roll.  One fundraising strategy this time was to ask each student to purchase a brick for sixpence. 

St Mary's College's imaginative fundraising and dedication continue today, as we start fundraising for the redevelopment of the Carlow block and raising funds for student scholarships, and other projects such as the upgrade of the Science laboratories.

If you are able to, please consider a gift to us to enable us to support our community.  Your gift, no matter how small or large, could provide key support. For example; $250 as a scholarship supports a quarter of the attendance dues for a student in need. $1,000 supports their full Attendance Dues. $230 pays the voluntary Proprietor Donation for a student. 

I would like to acknowledge our past Archivist, Margaret Deere for the above information.
St Mary's College welcomed onto campus a few weeks ago Old Girl Aysser Al-janabi, who attended SMC between 2002 and 2006. Aysser was head girl in Y13 (2006) and after school attended Otago for one year to do Health Sciences. Aysser switched to Victoria in 2008 and completed her Bachelor with Honours in both Law and International Relations.

After graduating, Aysser worked as Judge's Clerk in the Wellington High Court for two years (2014-2015). and then worked as a defence lawyer in the Public Defence Service for three years (2016-2018). Aysser has since worked as a prosecutor for the Manukau Crown (2019 - current).

Aysser spent time with our Year 13 students, where she discussed what she did as a Year 13 student to set her on this career pathway. It was a wonderful experience for our students, and we were very thankful for her time.
The Voice of James Smith department store

Celebrating the life of Beverley Benton (née Irene Frances Burke): b November 11, 1927; d January 22, 2022

St Mary’s College is enriched with a huge amount of history, starting with our inspirational founder Catherine McAuley, through to past pupils who have enriched those around them and left a powerful legacy.
For many older Wellingtonians, Beverley Benton will be remembered as the “Voice of James Smith’s,” but her life story is also one of tragedy and overcoming adversity.
Ironically, for someone who spoke so eloquently in later life, she had to overcome a stutter, before becoming a store announcer.
Irene Burke grew up in Nairn St, Wellington, and went to St Mary of the Angels school in Aro St, and St Mary's College. For most of her life, she was known as Beverley.

Struggling to bring up a young family, she did housework and waitressing. She also received a small widow’s pension, which came with a clause that she had to produce two references annually, stating she was of “sound moral character,” whatever that meant.
In 1961, life took a turn for the better, when she took a part-time job at James Smith.
Although it would result in her becoming synonymous with the famous Wellington department store, she described taking the job as an “act of desperation” born out of poverty.
St Mary's College Archives was set up in 1999 on the eve of the College's 150th Jubilee in 2000.

Last month we shared that Old Girl Olivia Quigan has accepted the St Mary's College Archivist position.

She will be supported by the St Mary's College Alumni, Old Girl Trisha Nally, and College representatives Mark Hurley and Erica Leahy.

The first Archives meeting was held on Monday 14 March, where we gained access to the Archives office. It's an office of many treasures.

We have had requests from some Old Girls looking to source a copy of their Yearbook. I can confirm that we have hard copies of several Yearbooks or the equivalent from 1976.

The Alumni office, in the coming months, will look to promote the option to purchase a Yearbook (soft copy only) from our Archives team. 
Friends of St Mary’s College (formerly the St Mary’s College Parent Association) is responsible for the hospitality, and fundraising at the college.

Getting involved. Everyone involved is a volunteer focused on meeting student needs. The purpose of FOSM is to build and create a village that helps to raise our kids and strengthen our college community.

We support the College and its Alumni by running the Second Hand Uniform Shop, hospitality, and fundraising throughout the year.

We are in the process of building a wonderful committee, therefore we are encouraging parents and or caregivers to join FOSM. If you are looking to share your voice and perspective along with learning more about the college community, then come along to our next meeting in May 2022.
Position vacant:
  • Chair: Mona Kruse Hurnen
  • Secretary: Vacant
  • Treasurer: Vacant
  • Second Hand Uniform Shop Co-ordinator: Tasi Commack
  • Angels Co-ordinator: Benita Murray
  • St Mary's College Principal: Andrew Murray
  • Committee members: Vacant
Our next meeting is on Monday 23 May 2022 at 5 pm, via Zoom. 

Note, while New Zealand is at "red" (COVID traffic light system setting), St Mary's College is unable to open the Second Hand Uniform Shop. When the traffic system setting moves to "orange" or "green," we will review this and seek advice from the Ministry of Education.
We welcome parents, caregivers, and extended family to volunteer to help us support our college community. To volunteer, and join the group, or our mailing list to receive our newsletters, send your email address to email or simply join our monthly committee meetings. We look forward to welcoming you to the next FOSM meeting.
Since those humble beginnings, St Mary's College has grown into one of the oldest existing schools in New Zealand with an enrolment of approximately 600 students.

We are very proud of our many former students who have gone on to be successful in both their private and business lives. The new STMC Alumni past students are making their mark on the world! In all areas of Arts, Community, Culture, Sport, Science, Business and the Environment they contribute to and enhance our lives.

We love to hear of your endeavours and one way is by keeping in touch with us. Join us through the St Mary's College website, our social media channels, or send us an email

How can you be involved?
  1. Get in touch, we would love it if you reconnected with us,
  2. Spread the word, we want to make sure that all old girls, families, and faculty are aware of this new initiative,
  3. Pay it Forward, and give back to the college community in kind, or through donation.
Facebook Facebook
LinkedIn LinkedIn
Website Website
I am very excited to share that as we prepare for the start of our new building works next year that will link the McAuley and Carlow blocks, we will be launching a Supporters Buy-A-Brick campaign.

Imagine having your family name, or business name engraved on a brick that will serve as a lasting testament to the College community and to future generations. A legacy for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren to visit and view! More to come on this, in the coming months.
St Mary’s College is currently developing and broadening a work experience programme for our senior students.  We are asking local businesses and government agencies to support our programme by hosting one or two St Mary’s students for a small number of work experience days. The course supports students with career planning and making choices about future employment.  One way to do this is by allowing them to see and experience real workplaces and real jobs, first-hand. If you can help us by hosting a student, we would love to hear from you.

Please let us know if you can help, by emailing Anne Paton or phoning us on 04-473-5554 to discuss further.
The St Mary's Netball season is upon us. Would you like to umpire for one of our teams?

Umpires get PAID for every game depending upon the level.

Please contact Emma Calcutt, Director of Sport if you are interested, by completing the umpire enquiry form or if you have any questions through the below button.
Inaugural St Mary's College Alumni Breakfast.

(A new date will be advised later in 2022)
7.30 - 9.30 am
Banquet Hall, Parliament Buildings
Host: Paul Eagle, MP for Rongotai
Speaker: Dame Fran Wilde

On 23rd January 2022, all of NZ moved into the “red” traffic light system setting. This change has had a direct impact on the below event which was originally scheduled for 30 March 2022.
VENUE HIRE: While New Zealand is at "red" (COVID traffic light system setting), St Mary's College is unable to hire out any of its facilities to external parties. When the traffic system setting moves to "orange" or "green," we will review this and seek advice from the Ministry of Education.

The St Mary’s Old Girls’ Association (SMOGA) is focused on enjoying the friendship of those who have been past pupils of St Mary’s College Wellington and their friends. We normally have a variety of social events during the year but the last 18 months have been different because of the COVID restrictions. We hope to have interesting, fun events in 2022 when most people are vaccinated. Past pupils and friends of the College of all ages are encouraged to attend. We do have a lot of fun and enjoy sharing our lives, past and present, with each other. While we are having fun we also try to raise a little money to help the current group of students at the College who are in need.

If you would like more information about these events or would like to join our association then please contact Judy Houlahan. 

Let us embrace "kaiako" (feeder of knowledge), and embrace leadership that is reciprocal (ie, the teacher and child have opportunities to learn from each other). The spirit of St Mary’s college represents this, we are truly unique, we are all part of one thread, the sharing of knowledge, we are a community that has experiences and memories that span over 170 years.

Today it is so important to network, interact and stay in touch — the alumni network offers students, families, the wider college team a host of benefits. One thing that will always remain in our Sisterhood. It is solid, it is constant, it is a community of women, a family, we are all linked by a common interest. Let us remember that we are all one, embracing all. 

We must strive to do ordinary things, extraordinarily well. Catherine McAuley

Term 1 finishes on Thursday 14th April. The College will reopen for Term 2 on Monday 2nd May 2022.

Our next newsletter will be distributed on Wednesday 1 June 2022.  Newsletter submissions close mid-May 2022.

Nga Mihi,
Sally Dunbar
Community Director
P: +64 4 473 5554, 
St Marys College Term Dates 2022

Term 1: Wednesday 2nd February - Thursday 14th April

Term 2: Monday 2nd May - Friday 8th July

Term 3: Monday 25th July - Friday - 30th September

Term 4: Monday 17th October - Friday 9th December


While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this correspondence is complete and accurate, St Mary's College does not represent or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information, or that this information is suitable for use in every situation. The College, and its directors and officers, do not accept any responsibility or liability arising directly or indirectly from or in connection with your use or reliance on this information, or from any omission in the information.

Copyright ©2021. All rights reserved.

St Mary's College Alumni
Guildford Terrace,
Wellington, NZ 6011
Ph: +64 4 473 5554, 

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.