Verdon College

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 New Zealand
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Verdon College is a co-educational Roman Catholic high school in Invercargill, New Zealand, teaching students from year 7 to 15 (ages 11–18). The college is named after Bishop Michael Verdon (1838–1918) who was the second Catholic Bishop of Dunedin (1896–1918). It has the highest rate of achievement in NCEA results for secondary schools in Invercargill city. In 2018, 93% of Year 11 students achieved NCEA Level 1, 88% of Year 12 students achieved NCEA Level 2, 73% of Year 13 students achieved NCEA Level 3, and 46% of Year 13 students achieved University Entrance.


Verdon College is a co-educational Catholic secondary school, created after an amalgamation in 1981 of Saint Catherine's College (single-sex high school for girls operated by the Dominican Sisters) and Marist College (single-sex high school for boys operated by the Marist Brothers). The Marist College site (which became Verdon College) was built on former farmland at the eastern boundary of Invercargill and the new combined Catholic high school was named after Bishop Verdon. Since the schools growth parts of the school are located on what used to be Cargill High and Te Wharekura o Arowhenua.

Aerial Imagery

These images are of the Marist College now Verdon College site.

Bishop Verdon Block

In the mid-2000s, Verdon college acquired a gymnasium and a full-sized S68 design classroom block on the site of the former Cargill High School. A multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the acquired classroom block was completed in 2008 and named the Bishop Verdon Block, mainly for the year seven and eight students. It also contains two computer suites, a library, science laboratories and a study atrium.


The College has a current roll of 721 students. The school's ethnic composition contained NZ European/Pākehā 55.5%, Māori 26.9%, Pacific Islanders 4.9%, Asian 11.4% and MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American and African) 1.3%. Verdon is very diverse. The College offers a broad range of educational opportunities for student achievement in the areas of sport and culture as well as a diverse academic curriculum. The College's National Certificate of Educational Achievement results are significantly above national averages for achievement of NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3.

Cultural activities

Bishop's Shield – Inter-school debating, scripture reading, public speaking and drama. They compete against the other Catholic schools in the Dunedin Diocese: St. Kevin's, Oamaru, Kavanagh College, Dunedin, and St Peter's College, Gore. Inter-house Drama – Competitions are held each year for the best drama performance from each house, with house points going to the winning house. Inter-house Haka competitions – Each house performs the school haka, as well as a set song and a chosen waiata for house points. Inter-house Lip Sync – Junior (Year 7-10) students from each house choreograph and perform a dance routine to a song of their choice. As the competition is held in the 2nd last week of the Junior school year, the winning performers house receives house points that are carried onto the next year. Music Festival – Students compete in various Junior/Senior categories including: Vocals, Instrumental, Group, and Inter-house Choir. Production – All Shook Up (musical) was performed in 2019. School of Rock (musical) was to be performed in 2020, however due to the impact of Covid-19 the production was performed in 2021. Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival – Each year, a number of students are selected to perform in the regional competition (Southland) against other schools in the area.Other Regional and National competitions that students compete in are: Chamber Music Festival ILT Southland Secondary Schools' Jazz Fest Rock Quest Sound Quest Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival Tangata Beats


Sporting Activities

House Athletics Day – Interhouse athletics competition where houses compete for house points. Southland-Wide Under 18 Competition – Verdon competes with other Southland secondary school First XV rugby teams in a competition spanning from April till August. Notable competition wins include the 2012 in which Verdon beat St Peter's College 15-12 in the final. New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball – The Verdon Senior A Netball team are regular participants at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball competition and have won the nationwide tournament twice. Quad Tournament – Verdon competes in an annual tournament weekend with St Peter's College, Kavanagh College, St Kevin's College and Roncalli College. Verdon has yet to have won a tournament weekend so far. There are both senior and junior tournaments, both at opposite ends of the winter season. Swimming Sports – Every year, students compete in various water sports for house points.

Sports offered at the College

Verdon offers many sporting opportunities for the students, such as: Badminton Basketball Cricket Cycling Football Futsal Hockey Indoor Bowls NetballRugby Softball Squash Volleyball Waterpolo

Notable students

Ex-pupils of Verdon College or its predecessor schools, St Catherine's College and Marist College. Dion Bates – Current Southland Stags rugby union player. Dan Buckingham – Olympic Paralympian athlete. John Burke – former mayor of Porirua City Dan Davin – soldier, writer, publisher Wendy Frew – Current Southern Steel and Silver Ferns netball player. Jess Hamill – New Zealand Paralympics competitor and Commonwealth Games shot put silver medalist. Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit – Current Southern Steel and FastNet Ferns netball player. Tom Scully – Professional cyclist. Douglas Sekone-Fraser – 2009 New Zealand Weightlifting Champion, Silver and Bronze in 2011 for the New Zealand Weightlifting Championships and 16th in the Junior World Championships. Hua Tamariki – rugby union player Stephen McDowell – Creative director and content creator of Buzzy Kiwi, and also was the runner-up to The Apprentice Aotearoa in 2021.
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