Our Heritage

Sancta Maria College is a Year 7-13 integrated co-educational school located in Flat Bush, Botany South. It opened in January 2004 for Years 7, 8 and 9 students with a roll of 314. Today, we are a vibrant community of learners comprising of 1000 students and over 100 staff.

The College is named after the mission schooner Sancta Maria on which Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier sailed around New Zealand. The name Sancta Maria is a Latin title for Mary the Mother of God. It means Holy Mary. While the school is named after the schooner, the emphasis is on ‘Holy Mary’, on which our charism is based.

Bishop Pompallier, who is a specially-honoured pioneer of the New Zealand Catholic Church, arrived in the Hokianga from France in 1838 with a group of Marist Priests and Brothers. With this group, he sailed around New Zealand converting the settlers to Catholicism in the early 1840s. Fathers Garin and Viard who accompanied Bishop Pompallier established the Churches in Howick and Panmure.

Bishop Pompallier devised his own flag for the vessel – a bunting version of the Miraculous Medal. It consisted of a blue cross surmounting a large M and surrounded by twelve stars. These twelve stars (representing the twelve Apostles) have been incorporated into the school logo to represent our College Values, along with the Sancta Maria and the school’s motto ‘Faith is our Compass’.

The College’s name commemorates the historic arrival and work of Bishop Pompallier. There is a comparison between the vessel Sancta Maria being used to spread the Word and our College being a vessel for nurturing spiritually and deepening our personal relationship with a loving God.

Bishop Pompallier sailed to Hokianga and several other mission stations in New Zealand, three of which were Kororareka (Russell), Waitemata and Akaroa. These four places represent our College Houses.

Homerooms at each year level are named after past or present Bishops of Diocese of Auckland. The names of these bishops are:

Bishop Denis George Browne
CLE Bishop Henry William Cleary
DNN  Bishop Patrick James Dunn
GNS Bishop Edward Russell Gaines
LIS Archbishop James Michael Liston