NCG History

Nelson College for Girls is a single-sex state school in Nelson, New Zealand.

Nelson College for Girls is proud of its excellent NCEA results each year. Our young women score consistently above the national average on all measures. The school was established in 1883, and its first principal was Kate Edger, who was the first woman to graduate with a university degree in New Zealand (from the University of Auckland). As was expected at this time, Kate resigned on her marriage in 1890, and was succeeded as Principal by Beatrice Gibson, one of the well-known Gibson sisters, who were very influential in girls’ education in the South Island at the turn of the 20th century. Gibson also resigned on her marriage, in 1900, and Althea Tendall took her place for a period of five years, followed by Margaret Lorimer from 1906 to 1926. Three of these early principals were graduates of Canterbury College, Christchurch, which came to an agreement with the school to enable pupils resident in Nelson, and enrolled at Nelson College for Girls, to receive university tuition from its staff. The pupils in Nelson were able to enrol in the same university classes as those available in Christchurch, sit the same examinations and receive the same qualifications. This arrangement continued until the 1920s.


Throughout its history, the school has enabled its students to attain high academic success as well as promoting a sense of the importance of being a part of the community. During World War, many Old Girls of the school enlisted as nurses and served in theatres of war in a brave and admirable way. Having a strong sense of giving back to community continues today with the significant group of students who volunteer in the local community.

The school has a boarding house which caters for a wide range of students from outside of nelson. The main house is named after another principal, Clarice Johnstone, who was instrumental in setting up the hostel. It caters for around 120 girls from years 7 – 13.