Prominent New Zealanders who attended St Mary’s College

St Mary’s students have achieved success in various and diverse fields of endeavour. 

Below is a representative list of just some of these students.

With the college being over 170 years old we are not able to list all students. The below dates refer to their time at the college and the names given in brackets are their names during their time at St Mary’s College.

Margaret BUTLER, 1890s.  New Zealand's first major sculptor.  She studied and exhibited in Paris and London. Some of her works are in Te Papa.

Andrea CREIGHTON, 1983 – 1987.  International opera singer.

Oroya DAY, 1936.  Founding president of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society and driving force behind the establishment of the Katherine Mansfield House.

Pip DESMOND, 1968 - 1972.  A freelance writer, editor, journalist, oral historian, and former parliamentary press secretary.

Jean DOUGALL, 1946.  First woman in New Zealand to reach the rank of Chief Inspector in the Police Force. Also first woman prosecutor.

Kate DUIGNAN, 1987 - 1991.  A novelist and short-story writer.  A senior lecturer at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Richard FARRELL, the 1930s.  Internationally acclaimed concert pianist. (Yes, boys did attend the primary school at the college.)

Patricia GRACE  DCNZM, QSO (Patricia Gunson), the 1950s.  Multi-award-winning New Zealand novelist, short story writer, and children’s writer.

Lucie HALBERSTAM, 1944 – 1947.  A refugee from Nazi Czechoslavakia.  A lecturer in the History Department of Victoria University for 30 years.

Lady HILLARY (June Anderson), 1944 - 1948.  Tireless worker alongside Sir Edmund Hillary for the Himalayan Trust.

Celia LASHLIE, 1966 – 1970. Social justice worker and advocate, Prison Manager, and author.

Margaret LOFTUS RANALD, (Margaret Loftus), 1940 – 1944.  Internationally acknowledged Shakesperian scholar and author.  Fulbright scholar.  Professor at the City University of New York and the University of California.

Frith MAUNDER, 1987 – 1991.  Athlete. Gold medal at the Oceanian Championships in 1994 and competed at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 in the women’s long jump.

Mary Ellen MACARTHY, (Mary Fitzsimons), the 1890s.   Philanthropist and charitable worker.  The wife of T G Macarthy whose estate still supports the college library with a two-yearly grant.

Dianne MACASKILL, 1964 -1968.  Chief Archivist of Archives New Zealand 2001 – 2009.

Avril MAKHLOUF, (Avril Barnett) 1944. A prominent biblical scholar and writer.  Fellow of the Institute of Christian Oriental research, the Catholic University of America. Visiting scholar at Oxford, Birmingham, and London Universities.

Elaine MISCALL, 1957 – 1959.  Miss New Zealand 1963  and second in the Miss World 1963.

Justine MUOLLO, 1989 – 1990's.  Founder and CEO of an international wholesale health food manufacturing company.

Jacqui NELSON, 1978.  Professional track and road cyclist. Competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games, and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Marie NEY, the 1900s.  Actress, who became an international film star in the 1930s through to the 1960s.

Melodie NGATAI, 1990 – 1994.  A geologist and a member of the Black Ferns 2004 – 2006 and again in 2010.  Has coached female rugby overseas and in New Zealand.

Thomas Vianney O’DONNELL, CBE, 1933.  Another old boy of St Mary’s. Outstanding medical practitioner and academic. Dean of the Wellington School of Medicine.

Ruth PAUL, 1977 -  1980.  Writer and illustrator of children’s picture books.

Dr. Johanna REIDY, 1990 -1994.  Public health researcher and lecturer both in New Zealand and overseas.

Helen ROBINSON, 1989. Auckland City Missioner.

Thurza ROGERS, 1912 -1919.  International ballet dancer. Soloist with the Anna Pavlova Company.

Ann ROSS, 1939.  One of the first New Zealand female diplomats.

Dr. Joan SKINNER, 1967 -1971.  Senior lecturer Victoria University, Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health. One of the first Ph.D. in Midwifery recipients at Victoria University.

Katherine SKIPPER, (Katherine Green) 1985 – 1989.  Leading Wellington architect. 

Frances SOLIA, 1991 -1993.  Netballer.  Captain of Wellington Pulse 2008. Captain of the Samoan National Team.

Jane STANDAGE, 1996 – 2000. Fulbright Scholar and now a highly qualified and experienced litigator in New Zealand and internationally.

Te Uira TE HEU HEU, the 1890s.  Helped her father, Te Heuheu Tukino V, who was a Member of the Legislative Council; she had a deep knowledge of Maori lore and custom.  A strong opponent of conscription in World War 1.

Krystyna TOMASZKY, (Krystyna Skwarko) 1940s.  QSM, Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.  Polish – NZ writer and social activist.  Arrived in NZ in 1944 with the Polish children refugees.

Dame Beverley WAKEM, 1957 – 1961.  Director-General Radio NZ 1984- 1988, numerous directorships and trustee roles.  Chief Ombudsman 2008.

Dame Therese WALSH, DNZM, (Therese Brockie) 1985 – 1989.  A chief executive and business leader.  Noted for her role in bringing the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2015 Cricket World Cup to New Zealand.

Judith WHEELER (McDonald) 1943 – 1953. Internationally acclaimed pianist.

Dame Frances WILDE, DNZM QSO (Frances Kitching) 1962 -1965.  MP for Wellington Central 1981 – 1992.  Mayor of Wellington 1992 – 1995. Wellington Regional Council 2004 – 2016.  Has served on several boards and received many honours including the  New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993.

Susan WILSON, 1974.  Actor and director. Founding member of Circa Theatre.  Awarded ONZM for Services to the Theatre.

Melissa YIANNOUTSOS, 1990 – 1994. Started a company to transform new technologies into commercial success. Wellington Regional General Manager of Powerhouse Ventures.  Has raised over $30 million for NZ technology companies.

Information provided by Margaret Deere, Archivist, St Mary's College - October 2021.

Above (from top) Frances SOLIA, Celia LASHLIE, Dame Therese WALSH, DNZM. (Google images)