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Macleans College

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Title: Macleans College  
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Subject: Bucklands Beach, Secondary education in New Zealand, Lists of schools in New Zealand, Brooke Walker, Kyle Mills
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Macleans College

Macleans College
Virtue mine honour
2 Macleans Road, Bucklands Beach, Auckland
Type State co-educational
Established 1980
Ministry of Education Institution no. 41
Principal Byron J Bentley
Grades Secondary
Enrolment 2540[1] (July 2015)
Socio-economic decile 9Q[2]
The main sign of Macleans College as seen from the road

Macleans College is a co-educational state secondary school located in Bucklands Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. The school is named after the Maclean family who lived and farmed the land of the school, and the school emblem contains the castle from their family crest along with six waves which symbolise the seaside location of the school.[3] Metro magazine placed Macleans College as the number one Auckland high school in 2010 among those in the Cambridge International Examinations system.[4]


  • History 1
  • Whanau House system 2
  • Uniform 3
  • Setting and buildings 4
  • Students 5
    • Demographics 5.1
    • International students 5.2
    • Accelerate programme 5.3
  • Qualifications 6
  • Co-curricular activities 7
    • Music 7.1
      • Instrumental groups 7.1.1
      • Singing groups 7.1.2
      • Musical theatre 7.1.3
    • Representative badge system 7.2
  • Notable alumni 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The school was opened in 1980 by then Governor General Sir David Beattie with an initial roll of 199 students.[3] The first principal was Colin Prentice, who later became director of World Vision in New Zealand, followed by his deputy Allan McDonald in 1989. On McDonald's retirement, Byron J Bentley, who holds a Master of Arts,[5] became principal in 2000.[6]

The school is named after the Maclean family. Robert and Every Maclean immigrated to New Zealand from Cornwall, England, and they owned the land in Howick. The family farmed the areas of land that the school's current location.[7][8]

Whanau House system

Upon admission, pupils are placed into one of the eight houses in Macleans College. The selection is random, unless the student currently has any sibling attending the school wherein the student has an option to be enrolled in the same house, or be randomly placed in any of the other seven.

The Whanau House system at Macleans divides the school into houses of about 300 students each, with two form classes of 30 or so students for each year level, all from the same house. The Whanau system had previously been trialled at Penrose High School (now One Tree Hill College) by modifying existing buildings, but Macleans College was the first state school in New Zealand to be purpose-built around the system. All eight whanau houses are named after famous New Zealanders.

House name House mascot House colour Year opened[6]
Hillary Yeti Green 1980
Kupe Kiwi Gold 1981
Rutherford Elephant Red 1982
Mansfield 'Dog' from Footrot Flats Purple 1984
Te Kanawa Taniwha Dark Blue 1987
Batten Buzzy Bee White 1998
Snell Black panther Black 2001
Upham Lion Light Blue 2003

The original houses were Kupe, Hillary and Rutherford, although Hillary was rebuilt and reopened on 29 October 1992 after it burnt down in 13 October 1991.[3] Te Kanawa house was opened by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa herself. More houses have been added as the roll has increased, with the latest addition being Upham, which was opened in 2003. The school has a roll of over 2,500 students.


The school uniform has undergone many changes since its founding. Currently, junior and senior students are distinguished by the pale blue shirts worn by juniors, and the navy and white striped shirts worn by senior students. Navy shorts and trousers are worn by boys, with navy skirts and Maclean tartan kilts worn by girls (the tartan skirts are only worn in the winter terms). Shoes include brown Roman sandals in summer and black lace-up shoes in winter (but can also be worn in summer). The school jersey is blue and v-necked with the school emblem on the left-hand side. School jackets, scarves, hats and raincoats are also available. For formal events, a blue striped blazer is worn with a school tie and long skirts or trousers.

The Physical Education uniform consists of blue shorts with the Macleans logo on the left leg, and a short-sleeved polo shirt in a student's house colour.

Setting and buildings

Macleans College is located in Macleans Park, the largest passive reserve in the Howick/Pakuranga district.[9] Due to its sloping terrain, the school has wide views of the adjacent Eastern Beach.

Each Whanau House has a one-storey building (with the exception of Batten, which has two) containing classrooms and science labs, and often several associated prefabs. Each Whanau House building also has a large central indoor commons area, which, along with being a general purpose socialising space, is used for house assemblies, lunch eating, and various co-curricular activities. Hillary, Kupe, Rutherford and Te Kanawa were built to a common design plan, known as the Whanau plan or S80 plan. Classroom blocks nearly identical to these were also built at Penrose High School and at Mountainview High School in Timaru.

The school also contains specialised non-house associated Science and Home Economics, Music, and Engineering buildings, along with the large Barbara Kendall gymnasiums and a smaller Collin Prentice auditorium for productions and performance.



At the May 2014 Education Review Office (ERO) review of the school, Macleans College had 2271 students, including 304 international students. Fifty-three percent of students were male and 47 percent were female. The school had an Asian majority with 54 percent of students identifying as such, including 31 percent as Chinese and 11 percent as Indian. Forty percent of students identified as European, including 27 percent as New Zealand European (Pākehā). Māori made up three percent and Pacific Islanders make up one percent of the roll.[10]

Macleans College has a socio-economic decile of 9 (step Q), meaning it draws its school community from areas of low to moderately-low socioeconomic disadvantage when compared to other New Zealand schools. This changed from decile 10 (funding step Z) at the beginning of 2015, as part of the nationwide review of deciles following the 2013 census.[2]

International students

The college takes in fee paying foreign students, mainly of Asian ethnicity. As they pay more than NZ$14,000 each per year, they constitute a significant part of the school's income.[11]

Accelerate programme

Macleans College offers students to apply for entry into their 'A class' system,[12] consisting of one or more classes of selected extension students per year group. These students are offered an accelerated pathway in various subjects so as to have opportunities to take courses earlier than usual. Usually, these classes take some International General Certificate of Secondary Education subjects together as a class in year 10 rather than in year 11, with the option of taking continued fast-tracked subjects in later years if desired. These extension classes are randomly placed into the 8 houses in a rotating system.


For senior students, two qualification pathways are offered: NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement), and CIE (Cambridge International Examinations).[13] CIE is offered as an alternative; the principal has stated that he has "major concerns about where the new qualification [NCEA] was going", one of which he said was that NCEA "breaks down subjects into units", which he believes is incoherent and could lead to students "cherry-picking parts of subjects they want to do". However he has also stated that the school has "no intention of disestablishing NCEA"; instead, they "have got to make it work".[14]

High-achieving pupils can sit New Zealand Scholarship exams, which Macleans considers as "the prime qualification in this school".[14] Many students in Year 13 and Year 12 sit these examinations, which lead to monetary rewards and prestige for successful scholars. A further incentive for students to undertake multiple scholarship examinations is the elite card pass system which the school grants their top scholars.[15]

In 2013, 97.6 percent of students leaving Macleans College held at least NCEA Level 1 or IGCSE, 95.5 percent held at least NCEA Level 2 or AS, and 86.2 percent held at least University Entrance standard. This is compared to 85.2%, 74.2%, and 49.0% respectively for all students nationally.[16]

Co-curricular activities

The school's unofficial co-curricular guide for students, although not extensive and slightly outdated, includes 28 sporting codes, 13 academic activities, 6 drama activities, 14 musical activities, 18 cultural activities and 24 clubs as part of the larger 'Intercultural Club'.[17] Each student is required to participate in at least one long term co-curricular activity.[18]


Instrumental groups

Macleans has one of the strongest instrumental music programmes in the region. In the annual KBB Music Festival which is held for secondary schools in the greater Auckland district, the Symphony Orchestra has been ranked the number one secondary school orchestra for the years of 2008 to 2012 inclusive, and 2014. The Concert Band has been ranked number one for the years of 2009 to 2013 inclusive, while the Chamber Orchestra was ranked number one for the years of 2010 and 2011.[19][20][21][22][23][24]

Singing groups

The choir has qualified on a national level, gaining a silver in 2010 and 2011 and a gold in 2012 at the Big Sing National Finale.[25][26][27] In 2011, the barbershop quartet gained second place nationwide while the girls' chorus placed fourth.[28] In 2012, the barbershop quartet were placed first, winning the national title.[29]

Musical theatre

Macleans College also has an annual musical production performance, performing famous pieces such as Les Misérables (performed in 2013), The Mikado (performed in 2014)and Into the Woods (performed in 2015).

Representative badge system

The school also operates a representative badge system. Top tier co-curricular groups, such as the premier teams for many sports codes, debating teams, music groups, the tech crew, stage challenge, the Intercultural Club, and drama, annually give out badges to their members or leaders after they have contributed significantly to that co-curricular. Three badges are available for each group: blue, silver, and gold, in ascending rank.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 17 August 2015". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2015-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "About Hillary House". Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  4. ^ Metro Magazine (July 2010). "Metro names the best schools in Auckland". Scoop. Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  5. ^ Bentley, Byron. "Principal's Message". Macleans College. Retrieved 13 November 2011. B J Bentley MA 
  6. ^ a b "General Information Booklet (English)" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  7. ^ "Maclean Family History". Macleans College. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1902). "The Hon. Every Maclean". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Auckland Provincial District. Christchurch:  
  9. ^ "MacLeans Park". Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  10. ^ "Macleans College Education Review". Education Review Office. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Macleans College International Student Fee Structure
  12. ^ The School Prospectus
  13. ^ Macleans College NCEA and Cambridge
  14. ^ a b Rebecca Gardiner (January 2011). "Principal denies NCEA rumours". Howick and Pakuranga Times. Archived from the original on 2011-03-25. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  15. ^ "Financial Awards + Other Benefits". Macleans College. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  16. ^ "School Qualifications -- Macleans College". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Co-curricular Groups" (PDF). Macleans College. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  18. ^ "Co-curricular". Macleans College. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  19. ^ "Outstanding Awards at Music Competition". Macleans College. August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  20. ^ "Gold Plus Outstanding Awards - KBB Music Festival". Macleans College. August 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  21. ^ "Four Gold Plus Three Outstanding Awards - KBB Music Festival". Macleans College. August 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  22. ^ "Gold and Outstanding Awards at Music Festival". Macleans College. August 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  23. ^ "Top Secondary School in Auckland - Macleans Orchestra Outstanding". Macleans College. August 2008. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  24. ^ "Macleans Orchestra Wins Gold at Festival". Macleans College. August 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  25. ^ "The Big Sing Finale 2012 Awards". New Zealand Choral Federation. August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  26. ^ "Silver at Big Sing". Macleans College. August 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  27. ^ "Silver to Choir". Macleans College. August 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  28. ^ "Barbershops Perform in Wellington". Macleans College. August 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  29. ^ "Barbershop National Title". Macleans College. September 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  30. ^ "Acting Dream Comes True". Macleans College. 
  31. ^ "Howick Pakurage Cricket Club - November Newsletter Vol 5 Issue 2". Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  32. ^ "Scott Campbell Makes US Baseball Team". Macleans College. June 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  33. ^ "30 March 2001 Newsletter" (PDF). Macleans College. March 2001. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  34. ^ "Kirsten Hellier: Top New Zealand Coach". Macleans College. February 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  35. ^ "Hillary House Prizegiving 2003". Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  36. ^ "Barbara Kendall Opens Macleans College Gymnasium". Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  37. ^ "Football Opportunity". Macleans College. February 2009. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  38. ^ "Athlete Profile - Aaron McIntosh". New Zealand Olympic Museum. Retrieved 14 September 2012. McIntosh, a product of Macleans College, Auckland 
  39. ^ "Kyle Mills at Rugby". Macleans College. June 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  40. ^ "Rhona Robertson". NamesDatabase. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  41. ^ "Pupils Prize Performance". Macleans College. November 1994. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  42. ^ "Dream Come True". Macleans College. June 2012. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  43. ^ "Mark Weldon Guest Speaker at Macleans Senior Prizegiving". Macleans College. November 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 

External links

  • Macleans College website
  • Education Review Office (ERO) reports for Macleans College
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