St Mary’s Catholic School was founded by the Cluny Sisters in 1942 with the primary purpose of teaching the children of Tauranga the Catholic Faith. This remains the primary purpose of our school and lies at the heart of our Special Character which in itself permeates all our school’s learning programmes.

St Mary’s is very proud of it’s special character.

We are so fortunate still to have the Sisters living next door and having a strong presence in our school.

On the front of the entrance façade of the main building , engraved into the plaster are the words BLESSED BE JESUS CHRIST TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN,  together with our school’s emblem.

The Sisters wanted these words there so that everyone entering our school would know and be reminded that Christ is at our centre and from whom all life and learning comes from.

Our school emblem and the symbols on it are very significant.

  • The Cross standing for Christ in the shape of the Cluny Cross
  • The Star  representing the Southern Cross, New Zealand as so many of the Cluny Sisters came from overseas, Ireland particularly
  • The words – Verax and Clemens – Truth and Mercy . Clemens translates as loving forgiveness
  • The wheat representing the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith
  • The Flowers  symbolizing the Irish Rose for Mary and a symbol of peace.

The educational philosophy of our school given to us from the Cluny Sisters and through their foundress Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey was to ensure that the needs  of each individual child was addressed.

We teach and strive to live the Gospel Values of Jesus Christ and it is this philosophy that permeates all we do  - our decisions in Governance, Management and Learning Programmes.

The Catholic School philosophy too has as its core value – Excellence and aims to achieve excellence in all its learning programmes for the benefit of its students.

The Special Character of a Catholic School is the point of difference with other schools which also aim for and achieve excellence. It is the special character of Catholic Schools that develops the whole person .

Parish & College Information