How Saint Paul’s Catholic School in Richmond, NZ was born
After consultation with the parish communities in the Nelson area, it was decided by the Archdiocesan authorities to open a new primary school in the Richmond area. In an historic move, the Catholic Church leased land from the Ministry of Education. This was dependent on legislation being passed in 1998 allowing the move to be made. A site was selected in the grounds of Salisbury School. In November 1998, members of the school and local iwi community met to share a dawn prayer and the ground breaking. Building was completed in time for the school to open on the first day of term, Wednesday 27 January 1999. There were 47 first day pupils on opening day housed in three classrooms. The first day was one of celebration with children, staff, parents, the Establishment Board and parishioners. The school was officially opened on Saturday 20 February 1999. Cardinal Thomas Williams was present to officially bless and open our school.
The Hon Nick Smith, Minister of Education was also present to formally share this opening of our school and unveil the commemorative plaque. By January 2000 our classrooms had increased to five, as had our teaching staff. The Administration Block and Library were completed in July 2000 and blessed and officially opened by Cardinal Williams. Nick Smith MP was also present. Due to our increasing roll a sixth teacher was employed at the start of term three 2000. At the start of the 2001 school year the teaching staff had increased to seven. Our Principal now became non-teaching and we had eight support staff. To meet our roll growth three new classrooms were built and finished in term two.
The Library was relocated into one of these additional classrooms and the staff room extended. Our new stand alone Library and ninth classroom were completed in Term Two, 2002. The tenth classroom was opened in 2003 to accommodate our increasing students roll. Margaret Jones was our founding Principal. John Dorman was appointed Principal at the start of Term Four 2007 and retired at the end of 2015. Mrs Maureen Phillips took up the position as Principal in July 2016. An eleventh classroom was completed in 2007 to provide for our projected roll increase.
Nine classes have been filled at the start of 2016 with 6 support and 2 administrative staff. One of our teaching spaces in used for liturgies, assemblies and specialist music tuition. Fundraising has started towards a multi-functional space for school community gatherings, with a long-term view to building one.