Liston College

Liston College is a college in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand, for year 7 to 13 boys and offers a Catholic education to its students. It was the second school opened by the Christian Brothers in Auckland. It was named after Archbishop Liston (1881–1976), the seventh Catholic Bishop of Auckland (1929–1970).[3] The school was founded in 1974 to serve the Catholic families of West Auckland and to absorb the growing number of boys who travelled daily to St Peter's College in central Auckland.[4]

Liston College
69 Rathgar Road,
Auckland 0610
New Zealand
Coordinates36.8663°S 174.6227°E / -36.8663; 174.6227
TypeState Integrated Catholic Boys Secondary (Year 7–13)
MottoIn Christ We Live
Established1974; 45 years ago
Ministry of Education Institution no.46
PrincipalChris Rooney
School roll858[1] (March 2019)
Socio-economic decile5M[2]


Liston College has a diverse, multicultural roll. In 2015 its ethnic composition was generally 34% New Zealand European, 9% Maori, 26% Asian and 17% Pacifika.[5] The college excels in sporting and cultural activities. Academically, the school offers for senior years the National Certificate of Educational Achievement assessment system (NCEA).[6]



Archbishop Liston of Auckland had, for some years, intended to establish a Catholic boys' school in Henderson. At first it was envisioned that it would be staffed by a community of Oblates of Mary Immaculate. But this did not happen and, eventually, the mission was entrusted to the Christian Brothers.[7]

Liston College was established by Liston's successor, the eighth Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Reginald Delargey (1914–1979, Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland 1957-1970 and Bishop of Auckland 1970-1974) in February 1974. The College commenced operations on 7 February 1974 using classrooms at Holy Cross School, Henderson,[8] with a staff of two Christian Brothers, Br G J Wellsmore and Br J P McKean and 72 foundation pupils. The pupils were divided into Form One 'J' and Form One 'M'. These initials stood for Archbishop Liston's Christian names - James Michael. Classwork began immediately and homework was set on the first day."[4] "Brother Wellsmore supervised the building programme, the establishment of the curriculum and the development of a unique school spirit. The Christian Brothers tradition and values underpinned Br Wellsmore's vision for the school. As the school roll grew and the building programme was completed, the college spirit became embedded in the Liston community."[9] During 1973 and 1974, the school was erected on the property at Edwards Avenue, which prior to work commencing was " ... an open paddock with an old house on it." The buildings, gymnasium and grounds were ready for occupation in the first term of 1975. The school was formally opened in November 1975 by John Mackey, the ninth Catholic Bishop of Auckland (1974–1983), in the presence of Archbishop Liston (who died the following year, 8 July 1976).[10]


When Brother R A Sisson became Principal (1980–1985) the roll had grown to 380 boys and 28 staff including five brothers. The deaths of Deputy Principal Brother Thomas Aquinas Monagle in 1983[11] and the head of the Intermediate Mr Hemana in 1984 had a profound effect on the whole school community.[4]

Parental and community support

"From its beginning the college had good parental support. A very strong PTFA helped run various activities and it provided the backbone of great fundraising efforts. 'Foremost among these was the Friday night flea market which involved many families. Not only was it profitable but it was a great social event in Henderson. Crowds came along and at its peak $40,000 was made annually for the benefit of the school.' The annual gala was another source of revenue. The funds provided sports equipment, cricket wickets and practice nets, tennis courts, computer room, audiovisual materials and teaching resource material. Many building alterations were funded over the years."[12] "The College has been well served by Boards of Governors/trustees who have worked to provide the best in education to the students. The board oversaw the completion of the school buildings, gymnasium, grounds and the Religious Education Centre/Sports Pavilion."[13] Liston College was fortunate to receive some considerable gifts in its early years. In 1978, John and Betty Rose donated the engineering workshop to the school. "Through their generosity, hundreds of young boys got the opportunity to learn engineering skills - skills that many fine-tuned in later years of life." In 1978, Henry Norcross donated the Liston College main entrance crucifix. Graham and Patricia Glamuzina donated the school chapel in 1979. "The chapel erected in the grounds of Liston College stands forever as a tribute to the thoughtfulness and generosity of the Glamuzina family. With the opening of a Catholic boys' college to service West Auckland, Graham and Patricia [Glamuzina] decided that an appropriate addendum to the college would be a separate chapel and so they provided the funding to complete the work. The delightful little chapel with its feature window designed by Colin McCahon will always be a fitting way for us to remember the Glamuzina family."[14]

Integration and character change

"In 1982 Liston College became an Integrated School and the number of brothers on staff was six."[13] That was the largest representation of Christian Brothers in the history of the school. "The sole remaining brother by 1985 was the Principal Br Sisson. When Mr Francis (Frank) Huckle replaced him, it marked the last official connection of the Christian Brothers with the school".[9] "Br Sisson completed his years as Principal in 1985 and the Brothers withdrew at the end of 1988"[13] However Brother J D O'Neill taught at Liston College 1991-1994 and he was the last Christian Brother to do so.[15] The Christian brother connection with Liston College thus lasted for most of the first twenty years of its existence. "The first lay-Principal, Mr Huckle led the college from 1986 until his [retirement and subsequent] death in April 1999. This saw a period of consolidation and then growth in terms of enrolments, academic success and sporting achievement and it was a continuation of the self-help spirit, which was at the heart of the College from its foundation. 'Among Mr Huckle's many achievements, one was significant. It was his spiritual leadership of the College and it was consistent and clear during his thirteen years as Principal.'".[13][16] "Mr Chris Rooney, the current principal, said it was appropriate to remember the contributions of Br Wellsmore, Br Sisson, and Mr Huckle, who shaped the College before him, and he sees it as his task to enhance what they had entrusted to him."[13]


The names and colours of the Liston College Houses are:

  • Cook - Red
  • Kupe - Yellow
  • Pompallier - Blue
  • Tasman - Green

The Houses are used for some administrative purposes, such as assigning form classes, but are primarily used for the purpose of holding inter-house competitions in a variety of sports and academic challenges. Winning Houses are allocated points and at the end of the year, the House with the most points wins overall and the leaders of that House receive the "House of the Year" trophy.


  • Gary Joseph Wellsmore (1974 – 1979) (foundation principal)[17]
  • Rex Anthony Sisson (1980 – 1985)[17]
  • F. D. Huckle (1986 – 1999) (first non-Christian Brother principal)[17]
  • C. S. Rooney (1999 – present)[17]

Notable former lay staff

  • Rauna Kauahia (Brownie) Hemana - foundation teacher at Liston College, taught at the college 1974 - 1984; head of the intermediate in 1984.[4][18]
  • Frank Huckle (deceased in 1999) third, and first lay, principal of Liston College (1987–1999).[16]

Notable alumni


  1. "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  3. Sweetman, Rory. "Liston, James Michael". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  4. Graeme Donaldson, To All Parts of the Kingdom: Christian Brothers In New Zealand 1876-2001, Christian Brothers New Zealand Province, Christchurch, 2001, p. 17.
  5. "Education Review Report". Education Review Office. May 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  6. "Qualifications Introduction". Liston College. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  7. Sister Mary Augustine McCarthy, OP, "Star in the South: The Centennial History of the New Zealand Dominican Sisters", St Dominic's Priory, Dunedin, 1970, p. 300.
  8. "Liston College History". Liston College. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  9. Liston College: 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, p. 1.
  10. Liston College: 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, pp. 4 and 8; Nicholas Reid, James Michael Liston: A Life, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2006, p. 304.
  11. Brother V. Ives, Brother Monagle 1928-1983, Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, p. 28
  12. Donaldson, pp. 17 and 18; Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975 - 2000, pp. 6 and 7.
  13. Donaldson, p. 18.
  14. Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975 - 2000, p. 24.
  15. Robertson, p. 206.
  16. Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975 - 2000, p. 29.
  17. Liston College: 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, p. 3.
  18. Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, p. 28.
  19. Matthew Grocott (22 September 2014). "MP Ball needs introducing". Manawatu Standard. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  20. Craig Dowd at
  21. Liston College 25th Jubilee 1875 - 2000, pp. 10 and 20: Paul Radisich was in Form 1J in 1974 and was taught in that year by Brother G Wellsmore.
  22. The Listoner, Volume 2, Issue 3, December 2005, p. 5.
  23. Kevin Senio at
  24. "Anthony Swann". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  25. "Rugby League World Cup 2000 - Team Profile Samoa". BBC Sport. BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 February 2002. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  26. Paul Urlovic, published in the Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975-2000, p. 20.
  27. "Paul Urlovic". New Zealand Football - Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  28. "Vicelich revisits the west but he's on the other side". Fairfax NZ. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  29. "New Zealand Honours". Waitakere City Football Club. Retrieved 25 April 2018.


  • J.C. O'Neill, The History of the Work of the Christian Brothers in New Zealand, unpublished Dip. Ed. thesis, University of Auckland, 1968.
  • Paul Malcolm Robertson, Nga Parata Karaitiana The Christian Brothers, A Public Culture in Transition, A Comparative Study of the Indian and New Zealand Provinces, an unpublished thesis for MA in Anthropology, University of Auckland, 1996.
  • Liston College 25th Jubilee 1975 - 2000, Liston College, Waitakere City, 2000.
  • Graeme Donaldson, To All Parts of the Kingdom: Christian Brothers In New Zealand 1876-2001, Christian Brothers New Zealand Province, Christchurch, 2001.
  • Bridget (Anderson) Harrod, 100 Years Catholic Education in Rotorua 1903-2003, St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Rotorua, 2003.
  • Nicholas Reid, James Michael Liston: A Life, Victoria University Press, Wellington, 2006.
  • Nicholas Reid, The Life and Work of Reginald John Delargey Cardinal, Catholic Diocese of Auckland/Pindar, Auckland, 2008.
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