About St Kevin's


The governing body of the College is the St Kevin's College Board which is elected every three years. The current Chair (Presiding Member) is Mr E Dupu. edupu@stkevins.school.nz

The Board is made up of four Proprietor Representatives representing the interests of the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, the College Principal, Student and Staff Representatives and four elected Parent Representatives.

The governing body of the Hostel is the Hostel Trust Board. The Board had seven members, comprising of at least one Parent Representative, the Principal, together with Foundation and College Board Representatives.

Find out more about the college demographics at Education Courts.

St Kevin's College Te Ngakau Nui

The St Kevin’s College Te Ngakau Nui is an organisation with charity status made up of parents and friends of the College and consists of no less than twelve, together with the principal and a teacher representative.

Its main objects are to:

  1. Provide a link between the young person, parent/caregivers and the school.

  2. Bring parents/caregivers and teachers together in social and informative activities.

  3. Raise funds to provide improved facilities and opportunities for members of the school community.

Enquires should be directed to: college@stkevins.school.nz

St Kevin’s College Home - School Partnership

St Kevin’s College aims to provide:

  • A safe and secure learning environment for all;

  • An education that nurtures the values and virtues of our Catholic Special Character;

  • The highest standards of care and discipline to promote respect for all;

  • A learning environment, including equipment, resources and facilities to promote confidence and independence in our student as learners;

  • Academic guidance and assistance to students throughout their school career; regular reports, information and consultation about progress;

  • A link to outside agencies when this is necessary.

St Kevin’s College expects:


  • To be an active member of the College family, attend class on time and meet their out of class commitments;

  • To act with integrity, by following the  College rules and codes of conduct; 

  • To respect all members of the College family by doing to others as they would like to have done to themselves and caring for the facilities and the College environment;

  • To demonstrate excellence by completing their studies to the best of their ability and taking responsibility for their own work and behaviour;


  • To support the College family and uphold its Special Character by attending community evenings, College events and Masses.

  • To demonstrate integrity by working  constructively in partnership with the staff and respond to concerns raised by members of staff;

  • To show respect by informing the school promptly of any concerns, ensuring attendance and encouraging students to keep their out of class commitments;

  • To support excellence by endorsing the high standards of discipline, behaviour and security in the school and sending the student they care for to school well nourished,  in full uniform and  properly equipped to work;


  • To nurture a family environment that fosters the College Special Character and creates opportunities for authentic and safe teaching and learning.

  • To model integrity by acting  acting professionally and following the code of conduct;

  • To respect both students and their caregivers by undertake the regular assessment of each student’s progress, communicating concerns in a timely manner and charting a path forward for each learner.

  • To demonstrate excellence by teaching to the best of their ability and challenging themselves to continually improve their skills;



Special Character

The St Kevin’s community has identified four key values that specifically mark it as a Catholic community in the South Island of New Zealand. The four key values are: Family |  Integrity |  Respect  |  Excellence

A Brief History

The Redcastle Residence

Born on the island of Mull, Scotland in 1818, John McLean came to this country and farmed in the Waitaki Valley. Eventually, after a life of hard work, joined to activity in local and Otago provincial politics, John retired to his property near Oamaru, where the College now stands. He died there, still a bachelor, in 1902.

His heir and only nephew, John McLean Buckley, immediately set about building the red brick residence with Oamaru stone facing, now known as the 'Castle' and since he was very fond of horse-racing, 'The Stables'.

When John (Sen) died in 1915, and his eldest son John was not interested in keeping up the property, it went on the market and was bought by a syndicate of local people. Ten years later, the Christian Brothers bought the property and a Brother Prunster came from Australia and worked for two years adapting the buildings for a boarding school.

Founding the College

On February 6, 1927, St Kevin's College was opened as a Catholic boys' boarding and day school. Within three years the Magee Block was built and the number of boarders had risen to 116. Then the depression struck and the number went down to the eighties until the war brought an increase in numbers, and the post-war prosperity brought them up further, till in 1962 they passed the 300 mark.

Meanwhile, the new school block was opened in 1960, the Chapel and Hall in 1962 and the new dining room in 1968, each marking a notable improvement in the standard of buildings at the College. In the same way, the roads around the buildings were tar-sealed, instead of being covered with the local Ngapara gravel. Three boys' dormitories were built in 1976 and in 1991 and 1992, two more were constructed. 

Integration and Coeducation

In February 1983 St Kevin’s became co-educational with the introduction of boarding and day female students. This step came at the same time as Integration into the state education system. Until 1979 girls boarded at Teschemakers, about 12 km south of Oamaru. When Teschemakers closed the St Thomas’s Hostel Trust was formed and it bought flats in Balmoral St. These were used for girls boarding until 1984 when the hostel moved onto the former junior college site.

More buildings, a new library, an administration block, a technical block, a gymnasium, art and music suites and a refurbished hall, bring us to the present day. In 1996 the College appointed its first lay Principal as Mr Justin Boyle succeeded Brother Joe Lauren who had been the thirteenth and longest-serving Rector. In 2002 the second lay principal, Mr Brent Russell was appointed. The Christian Brothers handed the school to lay management ending a 75-year presence at Redcastle. In 2009 Mr Paul Olsen was appointed as the third lay principal.

In  2019, after 92 years as Proprietors, the Christian Brothers transferred the College into the care of the local Dunedin Diocese. Bishop Dooley is the current Proprietor.

Contact Details

Postal Address

St Kevin's College
P.O. Box 444
Oamaru 9444
New Zealand

Email and Telephone

03 347 1665
021 437 176

Office Hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday during term time