Mount Albert Grammar School

Mount Albert Grammar School
Mount Albert Grammar School
Mount Albert Grammar School logo.png
Alberton Avenue,
Mt Albert,
New Zealand

Coordinates 36°53′4.52″S 174°43′31.2″E / 36.8845889°S 174.725333°E / -36.8845889; 174.725333Coordinates: 36°53′4.52″S 174°43′31.2″E / 36.8845889°S 174.725333°E / -36.8845889; 174.725333
Type State, co-educational, secondary (Year 9-13) with boarding facilities
Motto Per Angusta Ad Augusta
"Through Hardship to Glory"
Established 1922
Ministry of Education Institution no. 69
Principal Dale Burden
School roll 2527
Socio-economic decile 7[1]

Mount Albert Grammar School, or MAGS, is a co-educational secondary school in Central Auckland, New Zealand. It teaches from year 9 to year 13. Mount Albert Grammar is one of the largest secondary schools in the country. It is one of the most multi-cultural schools in New Zealand, containing over 60 different ethnic groups.



Mount Albert Grammar was founded in 1922 as a subsidiary of Auckland Grammar School, but now the two schools are governed separately. Mount Albert Grammar School was originally boys only, but it opened its roll to girls in 2000. While the school is now basically co-educational, the junior school classes (years 9 and 10) are still single-sex.

Headmasters since the opening of the school:

  • Frederick Gamble (1922–1946),
  • William Caradus (1946–1954),
  • Murray Nairn (1954–1969),
  • Maurice Hall (1970–1988),
  • Gregory Taylor (1988–2006),
  • Dale Burden (2006-).

Gregory Taylor was the First Albertian to become headmaster.

The school has a boarding hostel on a site known as School House (briefly known as Towers Hall until 2009). It has full-time accommodation for up to 101 male students.

The school’s motto is Per Angusta Ad Augusta, translated from Latin to “Through Hardship to Glory". The School Hymn, which is sung at all formal assemblies, was written by a student, J. A. W. Bennett, in 1928.[2]


Departments are: Agriculture and Horticulture Science, Art, Commerce, Dance and Drama, English, ESOL, Languages, Mathematics, Music, PE, Science, Social Science and Technology. The school also offers some sporting codes as academic subjects in the form of sporting academies, including rugby, football, cricket and netball. The school offers NCEA and Scholarship, but does not offer Cambridge International Examinations.


In 2009 and 2007 MAGS won Auckland major senior titles in Rugby, Soccer and Netball.[3] The 1st XI girls football and the Premier Girls Basketball won their first Auckland championship in 2009. The 1st XI Girls Football and Premier Netball teams were both national champions in 2010 for the first time.

The schools 1st XI Football team has a record unequalled by any school in New Zealand winning the Auckland Premier League championship 37 times since 1928. In 1999 the 1st XI won the Auckland Premier League, Knockout Cup and the New Zealand title. In 2008 the 1st XI won all three titles again. Also in 2009 won the 1A comp for the 6th year in row and equalled a record also set by M.A.G.S in the 1930s.

The 1st XV Rugby team has played since 1922 when it joined the Auckland Secondary Schools Rugby competition, winning the Championship in 1924 and 1925 . Since then it has won 19 times, the latest being 2010, winning back to back titles. It was also the New Zealand Champions in 1938, 1982 and 2010. In addition, the 1st XV has finished runners-up on numerous occasions, the most recent being runners-up to Gisborne Boys' High School in 2007.

The Premier Netball team performs strongly in the Auckland competition winning the title in 2007 for the first time since girls were introduced into the school in 2000. The Premier Netball team won the Upper North Island championship in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. They became runners up in the national tournament in 2008 and won in 2010. They also won the Auckland title again in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The Premier Boys Badminton team won the Auckland Championship in 2008 and finished in third place at the national tournament.

The schools Premier Tennis teams have recently put Mount Albert Grammar at the top in the country at tennis with the boys becoming second in the nation whilst the girls become first in 2009.

In 2008 one sports staff member and a parent coach were suspended by the schools' sport body College Sport and nine students who had transferred to the school were prevented from playing by rules designed to prevent poaching of young players.[4][5]

Mt Albert Aquatic Centre

View from the interior of the complex towards the competition pool

The Mt Albert Aquatic Centre is a joint venture between Mount Albert Grammar School and the Auckland City Council. It was opened by the Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1998. The facility contains a 25-metre competition pool with variable depth, and a leisure pool with wave action and a water slide. The complex has two spa pools, a sauna and a steam room.

School farm

The school has a 10.8 ha farm in the middle of Auckland city, home to sheep, pigs, rabbits, goats, cows, bees, and poultry. The farm is adjacent to the school and operates as a separate entity funding itself since 1933. The land it is situated on belongs to an ASB Bank trust and cannot be used as land for class rooms by the school.

It has a farmer's cottage with a live-in manager. Students are able to study agriculture from Year 10 onwards with numbers growing each year. Agriculture students are provided with opportunities to travel around the country on day trips and camps. They annually attend the Field Days at Mystery Creek, attend a six day camp at the Taratahi Rural Polytechnic, and Telford Rural Polytechnic.

As well as a classroom for theoretical study the farm has a one-stand wool shed with wool-handling facilities; pens to hold 150 sheep overnight; a two-stand walk-through milking shed with milking plant; an implement shed; and a unit for small animals.


Mount Albert Grammar School is one of the few schools in New Zealand with an astronomical observatory.[6]

The observatory was completed in 2008, when a computer controlled Meade LX200R 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain F/6.8 telescope was installed.[7] Observers use an SBIG ST7XME[6] CCD camera and filterwheel for imaging and photometry with LRGB or Sloan Digital Sky Survey g'r'i' photometric filters. Image resolution is increased by using an SBIG AO8 adaptive optics unit.[6]

The observatory is used for education and amateur research. Students and their supervisors participate in research activity by acquiring data for use by professionals and other amateur groups engaged in research, such as the search for exoplanets by gravitational microlensing or the transit method.[6] Transit measures of several known exoplanets have been submitted to a global amateur exoplanet transit database, e.g. WASP-19b.[8] The MAGS Observatory has submitted data to the amateur TRESCA Exoplanets Project of the Czech Astronomical Society, and the international amateur/professional collaboration μFUN (Microfun - Microlensing Follow Up Network)[citation needed]. The observatory is also part of the PAWM [9] collaboration, searching for transiting exoplanets around white dwarves and monitoring variable white dwarves.

The MAGS Observatory was the official location of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand Education Section[10] in 2008 and 2009.

Notable alumni


  • J.A.W. (Jack) Bennett - former Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, 1964-1978. Fellow of the British Academy 1971.
  • Bruce Biggs - Māori academic
  • Sir Graeme Davies, KBE - Vice-chancellor of the University of London, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, and University of Liverpool.
  • Sir Keith Sinclair - historian

The Arts


  • Simon Mercep - news and current affairs reporter for TVNZ since 1990. Reporter for Fair Go consumer affairs television programme.


  • Sir Woolf Fisher - co-founder of Fisher & Paykel
  • Dr Chris Liddell - Chief Financial Officer Microsoft
  • Sir Daniel James Matthews - former Chairman of the BNZ
  • Sir Alexander Ross - former New Zealand Reserve Bank deputy governor and former chairman British Commonwealth Games Federation.


Public service

  • Michael Bassett, QSO, NZ Medal - former senior lecturer in History at the University of Auckland 1964-1978. J.B. Smallman Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario 1992-1993. Former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister.
  • Dr Alan Bollard - Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand
  • Judge Mick Brown - former Principal Youth Court Judge. Past Chancellor of the University of Auckland 1986-1991
  • G. S. Carter DSO - Z Special Unit commando and founder of Kundasang War Memorial and Gardens
  • Sir Robert (Bob) Mahuta - Commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. Chairman Maori Development Corporation.
  • Les Mills - former Mayor of Auckland and athlete
  • Sir Robert Muldoon - Prime Minister of New Zealand: 1975 - 1984
  • Mac Price - diplomat
  • Mr. G. Gregory Taylor, ONZM - former history teacher and past Headmaster of Mount Albert Grammar School.


  • E.G. (Ted) Bollard - former Research scientist at DSIR 1948-1980 and director of the horticulture and processing division. Pro-chancellor of The University of Auckland, 1989–1991
  • Richard Dell – scientist
  • Richard Matthews, Order of New Zealand. New Zealand 1990 Medal, Hector Medal of Royal Society of NZ, FRSNZ, FNZIC, FRS - former Chairman of Toxic Substances Board, Health Department. Former President NZ Microbiological Society.
  • Sir John Scott, KBE - former Professor of Medicine, The University of Auckland.
  • Sir Alan Stewart[disambiguation needed ], KBE, CBE - former vice-chancellor of Massey University 1964


  • Shane O'Brien - Olympic gold medalist - rowing
Rugby League
Rugby Union


See also

External links

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