• Print Page Content

House System

Children entering the Boys’ and Girls’ Prep Schools are allocated a House. The House system is an important part of the daily routine in the Prep Schools, as well as for sporting and cultural competitions, and so pupils develop strong loyalty to their Houses. 
Where pupils have a familial link - a sibling, parent or grandparent, for example - who is a Grammarian, they will follow this link into their  'family' House, where at all possible.

The Houses
See below for detail on the origin of each House.

…in the Boys’ School: Gibson, Hansen, Merton, Parr

…in the Girls’ School:  Connon, Dell, Hart, Mullan

The House Structure and the Role of the Houses within the School Day
Houses play a significant part in the structure of every school day.

Each House is led by a Y8 House Captain. All Y6-8 pupils participate in the nomination of the House Captains who are announced at Prize Giving for the forthcoming year.

The Houses are divided into Mentor Groups, each of which is led by a Y8 Mentor Leader and includes pupils from Y4-7. The Mentor Group is a ‘team within a team’ and  the Mentor Leader is responsible for his or her group – a friendly face in the playground, a helping hand, a big brother or sister.

Every morning starts with Boys’ and Girls’ Assembly Lines in House Mentor Groups. The Prep Schools sit in their respective Houses in these Mentor Groups for assemblies and chapel services.

Each week, one House (colour) is on duty in each Prep school. House responsibilities increase as pupils become older, and for Senior School pupils these include readings and prayers in chapel and assembly.

The Houses also come into play on those dreaded wet-weather days when rain and cold force us indoors for break and lunch. Pupils retreat to House Rooms where companionship and the  House games’ box – cards, board games and the like – alleviate the monotony, if not the frustration!

Inter-House Competitions
The ultimate goals are the Parr Memorial Cup for the Boys’ Champion House and the Bartle Cup for the Girls’ Champion House, presented annually at Prize Giving. Pupils  contributes to their Houses and the winning of these cups in a number of ways: 

Merit and Values Cards  Each pupil receives merit points for academic effort and attainment in class and prep, and values points for demonstrating the values and virtues of the school. A card is awarded for twenty merit or values points, and each card earns five House points. Silver and Gold Merit and Values Cards (for five and ten cards respectively) earn bonus House points.

Major Inter-House Events  
A number of inter-House competitions take place throughout the year:
          Swimming Championships           Term I
          Cricket                                                  Terms I / IV
          Cross-country Championships    Term II
          Hockey                                                Term II or III
          Rugby / Netball                                 Term III
          Football                                               Term III                                  
          Music Competitions                        Term II or III
          Athletics Championships              Term IV
          House Choirs                                     Term IV

House Fitness Shields  Twice a week, the pupils do Fitness for fifteen minutes. Fitness consists of running and a variety of other agility and cardio-vascular activities. House points are awarded towards the Boys’ and Girls’ House Fitness Shields which are presented each term. 

Colours Challenges  Colours Challenges see the Boys’ and Girls’ Houses of each colour combine as one team –  ie: Blue, Green, Gold and Red – for fun events. These happen both as independent events, such as the Top Team team-building competition held during a sport afternoon in Term IV, or within an inter-House activity, such as the (figurative and cumulative) Race around New Zealand during Fitness. 

The Assignment of Pupils to Houses
In Term IV, Y3 pupils in the Junior School who moving up to the Prep School the following year are invited to join the House System. Pupils joining the Prep School in other years will be allocated a House when they enrol. 

Pupils are assigned to Houses by the following criteria:

  1. A child of a former pupil is placed in the House with the same colour as the parent’s House.
  2. A child is placed in the House with the same colour as any older sibling or other child who lives in the same household.
  3. If a child has cousins or similar relatives who are current or former pupils, this may be taken into consideration, but only if numbers in the Houses permit.
  4. Children with the same surname may be placed in the same House where numbers allow. This includes having the same surname as children who have left the school.

In assigning children who are not allocated by the criteria above, the number of pupils at each year level across the Houses is kept as even as possible. In doing so, the academic, sporting and musical abilities of all pupils are taken into account and, as far as possible, such abilities are fairly allocated across the Houses. Please note that we do not accept any requests for children to be placed in the same House as friends, for obvious reasons.

Origins of the Houses...Boys’ School

Created in 1956. Dr DE Hansen, CMG, was a member of the school's Board of Governors for 33 years.

Created in 1933. Mr GH ‘Gudge' Merton, BA,, was the first headmaster of The Cathedral School,  founded 16 May 1881.

Created in 1933. Canon S Parr, MA, BD, MC, was headmaster, 1923- 1932.

Created in 1933. Traditionally the Boarders’ House and called School House until 2001, Gibson House was renamed for Mr Reg Gibson, BA, former Grammar pupil (1919), head Cathedral chorister, teacher and finally headmaster, 1946 – 1954.

Origins of the Houses...Girls’ School
These Houses were created in 1996 when the Girls' School opened.

Miss Helen Connon was the first woman in the British Empire to gain a first class degree with Honours, an MA, in 1881. She was a pioneering headmistress of Christchurch Girls’ High School. Helen Connon Hall, the  University's great brick hall of residence that dominated Chester Street, was acquired by the school 1974 but demolished in 1998. Helen Connon was the grandmother of poet James K Baxter.

Dame Miriam Dell is one of New Zealand’s foremost advocates of the status and role of women in society. For her services to women, she was awarded the Order of New Zealand in 1993.

Mr Lionel Hart, headmaster 1954 – 1967, and his wife Molly are both remembered with great fondness by pupils of their time. Mrs Hart played a major role in the life of the boarders, in particular.

Miss Molly Mullen was 
warm and witty; an academic; a remarkable teacher, the first head of the school's Junior Department in the late 1930s and 
eventually the headmistress of St Margaret’s College; a tireless Christian missionary, Molly was the first woman Lay Canon to be appointed in New Zealand, and the first administrator of Christchurch Cathedral.