History of Carmel College

In 1957, the long held dream of the Sisters of Mercy to establish a Catholic girls’ school on the North Shore was realised.

On land purchased from the Poynton and Shakespeare families, Sr. Mary Justine Gillies was given the mission of founding Carmel College, initially with fifteen students and no actual classrooms. Sr. Justine gathered dedicated teaching Sisters and, as the school grew, these Sisters were joined by the first full-time lay teacher, Mrs Verena Butler, in 1963.

In 1975, ill health forced Sr. Mary Justine’s resignation but her contribution to education had been recognised with the award of the MBE in 1972.

The intervening years, from the first fifteen students to Carmel’s current maximum roll of one thousand and fifty, are a testament to Sr. Mary Justine’s vision, faith, relentless hard work and determination to provide the very best in Catholic education for young women.

In 1975, Sr. Monica Costello became Carmel’s second principal, having taught at Carmel since 1959. It was her challenging task to shepherd Carmel through the difficult years of the Integration Agreement, which was signed in 1981. At the end of 1982, Sr. Monica was elected Superior-General of the Auckland Sisters of Mercy: “a true successor to Cecilia Maher”.

  • Carmel’s third principal, Sr. Pauline Engel, was the first to be appointed in 1983 by Carmel’s Board of Governors.
  • The first lay Principal, Mrs. Collene Roche, began her duties in 1991 and served until mid-2003.
  • Mrs Kathleen Deady served as Principal from mid-2003 until the end of 2013.
  • Ms Chris Allen, the first past pupil to hold the position of principal, served from 2014 to mid-2022.
  • The current Principal, appointed in mid-2022, is Ms Sarah Kemble, another past pupil to hold this position.