Co-ed students in The Green Library and Innovation Centre.

Our Vision and Spirit

Te Matawhānui me te Wairua

At St Andrew’s College we talk a lot about the spirit of St Andrew’s – that ‘special something’ – the extraordinary energy, humour and collegiality, the lone kilted bagpiper, the irresistible draw for our Old Collegians, and much more. St Andrew’s College holds a special place in the hearts and minds of generations of South Islanders. Mention our name, and a story about a family member or friend with a close connection to the school is sure to be told.

Embracing tradition, inspiring excellence

We are committed to providing a world-class learning environment which values innovation and creativity alongside tradition and knowledge. Positioned as a school that builds on the best aspects of the past to guide the future, we are committed to the pursuit of high performance, personal excellence, and clearly defined values. This empowers our students to complete their education with success, confidence, self-awareness, compassion, and a commitment to global responsibility.

St Andrew's College Rector walking on campus with a group of students

Our vision for every student

To be at the leading edge of high performance educational practice, in a community which values caring for others, tradition, and creativity, in order to provide young people with the roots and wings to flourish in an ever-changing world.

Our values

We secure our future by inspiring trust and confidence through living our values and demonstrating our commitment to continuous improvement.

Saltire cross from St Andrew's College cross

Truth | Pono

Integrity in everything we say and do

Southern Cross stars from St Andrew's College crest

Excellence | Kairangi

Reaching beyond what people expect of us

Bible from St Andrew's College crest

Faith | Whakapono

In self, others, and our future

Lamp of learning from St Andrew's College crest

Creativity | Auahatanga

Daring to imagine; turning ideas into reality

Burning bush from St Andrew's College crest

Inclusivity | Kanorau

Valuing diversity; embracing different perspectives

Our Strategic Priorities


High Performance

We constantly seek to challenge, extend and develop our holistic educational practice as individuals and as a professional community.



We create and sustain an extensive range of diverse opportunities that inspire, engage, build confidence and lead to personal growth.


Partnership and Social Responsibility

We seek out external partnerships, aiming to connect, learn from, and contribute to them, enriching the St Andrew’s educational experience.


Celebration and Community

We celebrate our faith, traditions, achievements and individual strengths that bind us together as a caring community and connect us to our past, our present and our future.



We adopt a proactive, evidence-based approach that allows us to promote and support the well-being, safety and welfare of young people, staff and community.


Place and Space

We provide exceptional and flexible learning environments that inspire and support young people and staff, enabling us to realise our vision as a future-focused school.

Our Cultural Narrative

The historical relationship between all the places associated with St Andrew’s and the mana whenua, Ngāi Tahu, are also important and are currently being captured in our first Cultural Narrative. This document will bring the two narratives of our history together, using the metaphor of weaving – the warp and the weft, the tartan and the kākahu.

St Andrew's College's antipendium

Te Ao Māori

Exploration of New Zealand’s history, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and our national journey as Treaty partners is an important part of our culture. We are committed to acknowledging the Treaty principles, our nation’s bicultural foundations, and enabling our students to acquire knowledge of Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori.

Today, Te Tiriti o Waitangi is enacted at St Andrew’s College through partnership, protection and participation, through our curriculum, co-curricular programme, and connections with our wider community and whānau.

St Andrew's College student kapa haka in traditional dress

Our Scottish Heritage

Scottish traditions remain at the heart of St Andrew’s, with the skirl of the pipes, twirl of the Highland dancers, the Ferguson tartan, St Andrew’s cross and Scottish thistle intrinsically woven into the fabric of College life.

The St Andrew's College Pipe Band performing in St Andrews, Scotland.

Our Statement of Faith

St Andrew’s College is a Christ-centred Presbyterian Church School. We embrace a rich heritage of historic Christian faith with roots in the Free Church Presbyterian tradition and as part of the wider Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ).

We believe education must be holistic and embrace the spiritual and emotional well-being of students, as well as their academic and social growth, and development in sport and the arts.

Overarching values of Faith, Truth, Excellence, Creativity and Inclusivity promote Developing Positive Relationship Values (DPR values) which include Hope, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Generosity and Compassion. These are taught, expressed, and role-modelled within the school community. We want students to leave the College open minded, free thinking, and consider views that they may not have considered before.

St Andrew's College Centennial Chapel entrance with large metal cross

Rev. Paul Morrow | College Chaplain

In this short video, College Chaplain, Rev. Paul Morrow, discusses how the College’s Presbyterian Christian heritage, our values of truth, faith, excellence, inclusivity and creativity, our pastoral care and our community service opportunities, all support our students to develop an understanding and care for their community, and the greater world around them.

Rev Paul Morrow walking over bridge at St Andrew's College

Our House system

The House system at St Andrew’s is an integral part of school life, reflecting the College’s core values. We have four Houses, which are named after the College’s founding figures and main benefactors: Erwin, MacGibbon, Rutherford and Thompson.

The House system helps students to develop a sense of identity and pride in their House, as they engage in friendly, positive competition against the other three Houses. Houses compete against each other in a range of sports and activities throughout the year, including touch, swimming, haka, athletic sports, cross country, Highland Games, chess, debating, volleyball, basketball and singing, to name a few. Points are awarded at each competition with the Houses competing fiercely for the coveted House Cup, which is awarded at our annual Prizegiving.

  • History of the House System

    The St Andrew’s College House system started in 1925 with the creation of four Houses – two for boarders – Strowan and Rutherford, and two for dayboys, Erwin and Thompson. These were named after the College property (Strowan), the benefactor who enabled the College to purchase it (Mr Duncan Rutherford), the Board’s first Chairman (the Reverend Dr Robert Erwin) and the College founder (the Rev. A T Thompson).

    There is sometimes a bit of confusion because there are two types of Houses at StAC: boarding houses and competition Houses, and these two types of Houses have often carried the same names.

    In 1982, Rector Dr John Rentoul rearranged the House system, allocating all students a competition house regardless of whether they were boarders or not. All teaching staff were also allocated a competition house. From 1983 onwards, Houses have been scored for their successes in a wide range of activities beyond just the Athletics Day and Swimming Sports events.

    Each House has a Staff Leader with Student Leaders at both the Middle and Senior School levels. The Houses are distinguished by different colours – Thompson (Green), Erwin (Red), Rutherford (Blue) and MacGibbon (Yellow).

    The House system builds a closer rapport between students and teachers and helps new staff and students to adapt to the culture of St Andrew’s.

  • Erwin House

    Erwin House was named after The Very Reverend Dr Robert Erwin, who was the first Chairman of the St Andrew's College Board. He was regarded as a man of flawless integrity, visionary ideas, great knowledge, and biblical commitment.

    Erwin was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1882, where he was licensed to the Auckland Presbytery. After a brief time at Papatoetoe, he accepted a call to the North Belt Church in Christchurch, now known as Knox Church.

    As Board Chairman, Erwin guided the College from its inception in 1917 until 1931, and he was also College Chaplain for much of this time, leaving a lasting mark on the school. While students may have found his Scripture lessons a bit dry, there is no denying that Robert Erwin's seasoned wisdom and resolute leadership made the College grow and prosper.

  • MacGibbon House

    MacGibbon House is not only a competition House, but also a boarding house for boys from Years 9–11. Its name honours William S. MacGibbon, a Scottish-born accountant who was an early advocate of St Andrew's College, as well as the first treasurer of the College's first Board of Governors, and on his death in May 1962, a major benefactor of the College.

    MacGibbon left a substantial amount of money to the College; his generous bequest allowed a number of upgrades and new builds, including the construction of a mountain lodge in Castle Hill and the start of our Outdoor Education programme. The mountain lodge was officially opened on 1 May 1965 after 19 months of hard work by the entire College community, and then rebuilt in 2008 into the award-winning Alistair Sidey Mountain Lodge, the state-of-the-art centre for outdoor programmes which are enjoyed by hundreds of St Andrew’s College students every year.

    There are very few schools with such exceptional facilities and outstanding Outdoor Education programmes, and the College is very grateful to William MacGibbon for the legacy he helped to create with his generous bequest.

  • Rutherford House

    In addition to being a competition House, Rutherford House is also a boarding house for boys from Years 11–13. It was named after one of our first major bequestors, Duncan Rutherford, who enabled the College to purchase Strowan House and grounds.

    Rutherford was born in South Australia and came to New Zealand when he was seven. He was a successful, generous runholder in North Canterbury and a founder of Hanmer township and its hospital. Rutherford left a generous gift to the College in his will around the same time the Stead family put their property ‘Strowan Park’ on the market, and his bequest enabled St Andrew’s College to find its home in 1917.

    Duncan Rutherford is remembered in a variety of ways throughout the College, and one of these is the 1917 Society – a special group through which we recognise all those who have chosen to make a gift to the College through their Will. His legacy continues to live on not only through our school, but also through the people who share his generosity of spirit.

  • Thompson House

    Thompson is not only a competition House, but also our only boarding house for girls from Years 9–13, its name honours the founder of St Andrew's College, Reverend Alexander Thomas Thompson.

    Thompson was minister of three parishes, an exceptional orator, scholar, fundraiser and visionary. He served in the British and Foreign Bible Society in New Zealand and Australia for 20 years, and was part of the Flying Doctor Service’s early years. However, he was most proud of founding St Andrew's College; he devoted decades of his life to the College and was the driving force behind the Memorial Chapel.

    His driving ambition was to ‘educate the sons of the Presbyterian and Scottish community of Canterbury’, and due to his determination, St Andrew’s College opened its doors in Christchurch in 1917, with 19 boys and four teachers. We are thankful to Reverend Alexander Thompson and his efforts which enabled our College to exist and thrive.

The four house crests at St Andrew's College