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Cardinal McKeefry School was opened in 1970. In 1975 it was the first Catholic school in New Zealand to be integrated into the state system.
The school, however, has a much longer history. It traces its origins to the first Marist Brothers’ School to be opened in New Zealand, in Boulcott St in 1876.
In 1911 the school moved to Hawkestone Street, where it was known as Marist Thorndon for boys from Year 4 – Year 8. The building was demolished in 1969 to make way for the Wellington motorway and the school temporarily moved to nearby Viard House. The current school, on the corner of Albemarle Road and Wilton Road, was opened in 1970 by Cardinal McKeefry and named after him.
In the mid 1980s Cardinal McKeefry School became a full primary co-educational school and still is today.
There has also been a rich educational involvement by a variety of Religious Orders in the Karori, Northland, Wilton and Thorndon areas in the past and we believe that their Charisms and gifts live on in our school community today.
Peter Cardinal McKeefry
Peter McKeefry was born in Greymouth, on the West Coast, 3 July 1899. At the age of 26 he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Auckland. In 1947 at age 47 he was ordained a bishop and appointed as coadjutor Archbishop of Wellington.
He became Archbishop of Wellington in 1954 where he was Archbishop until his death in 1973, at age 74.
During his time as Archbishop he was elevated to Cardinal in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, becoming New Zealand’s first Cardinal.
A fuller account of the life of Cardinal McKeefry can be found in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.