The first Catholic School in New Zealand was opened in 1841, shortly after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. It was the beginning of the development of a Catholic education system which now has 191 primary and 49 secondary schools, with around 64,000 students currently enrolled.
Catholic schools are state integrated. The government funds the operational costs of the schools, while the Catholic proprietors (bishops and religious orders) own the land and buildings. Integrated schools are able to preserve their special character, which is of vital importance to Catholic schools.
New Zealand Catholic Education Office
The New Zealand Catholic Education Office is the office of the New Zealand Council of Proprietors of Catholic Integrated Schools. It also serves the educational requirements of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. It assists the Conference and the proprietors of Catholic integrated schools in their mission of providing Catholic education.
National Centre for Religious Studies
Diocesan Education Offices support the early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools in their diocese.
The National Centre for Religious Studies (NCRS) is the agency of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and part of The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand. NCRS is responsible for religious education programmes and resources and professional development for Catholic teachers. It also provides Faith Education programmes for adults.
Catholic Tertiary Education
The Catholic Church in New Zealand has two tertiary education institutions which provide tertiary qualifications in theology and pastoral ministry, including qualifications approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority:
- The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand
- Good Shepherd College
The Catholic Education of School-Age Children
In February 2014 The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference published the Catholic Education of School-Age Children document about our Catholic education system. In it the Bishops have set out their thoughts about the system, the principles which should underpin its operation, and their concerns and hopes for the young people who move through it. Copies have been distributed to every Catholic School and is available here.
The Bishops’ document draws on recent doctoral research into the Catholic identity of a sample of Pakeha New Zealand young adult Catholics. A copy of the relevant doctoral thesis is available for download (PDF, 1,729 KB)