Auckland Grammar School

From Academic Kids

Auckland Grammar School (fully, The Auckland College and Grammar School; commonly AGS), is a school in Auckland, New Zealand commonly known as "Grammar" to Aucklanders. It is a mixed day and boarding school for boys aged 13 (Year 9 or Form III) to 18 (Year 13 or Form VII).

The School is famous for its excellent examination results and its alumni. The school has produced 25 Rhodes Scholars and 52 All Blacks. Annually a significant minority of its students gain Oxbridge admission. The School has also produced 16 Girdlers' Scholars to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge--New Zealand's most prestigious school-leaving award.



Governor Sir George Grey established the school by Deed of Endowment in 1850. However, it was the Auckland Grammar School Appropriation Act 1868 which legally founded the school.

Auckland Grammar School is generally accepted to be one of the most prestigious schools in New Zealand, and indeed the South Pacific, where the School has a famous reputation. Along with Christ's College, Nelson College, the Wanganui Collegiate School and Wellington College the School is one of the "foundation schools" of New Zealand--the schools founded soon after the British settlement of New Zealand, with the intent of establishing a public school system.

Political interference

The School has been shaped into one of New Zealand's largest and most controversial schools. Its headmaster, John Morris, is well-known for his criticism of the NCEA and the Labour Administration. The school is well-known for its implementation of the British GCSE and GCE A-Level examinations instead of the NCEA for the majority of its pupils.

The prestige and the high regard held of the School by New Zealanders has caused the school to grow beyond normal levels for New Zealand schools. Many Aucklanders purchase property to take advantage of the Labour Government's "zoning" scheme where geographical proximity determines entry. The competition for boarding places is also fierce. Prior to the zone system entry was determined by examination, scholarship or by a family connection (father/grandfather's attendance).

The Estate

The School is located on a 152,000 m² estate in central Auckland. The main block, the Great School was built in 1916 in the "Spanish Mission" style and has "A"-grade historical protection. Inside is the very large theatre, with tiered seating, used for assemblies. The theatre has an innovative design, with a vaulted ceiling covering the central "court" of the building, a reminder of the Oxbridge college quadrangles. This was an innovative design concept at the time.

The War Memorial is a large obelisk standing on a plinth commemorating the Old Boys of the school who fought in various Wars.

Despite the zoning policy, the School still admits out-of-zone students to take up residence in its only boarding house, Tibbs House. Tibbs House is a large colonial-style wooden edifice.

Like Wellington College the Government has pressured the School into making its buildings more like "the average state school". To that end there are also prefabricated buildings used as laboratories and classrooms. The School was fortunate enough to preserve the Great School, whereas the main buildings of Wellington College were not.

Auckland Grammar School owns a facility called VentureLodge on the outskirts of the township of Ohakune in the central North Island which is used by students for camps.

Famous Old Boys

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