Founded in 1914, St Matthew’s Collegiate has a proud and successful history of educating young women. Through its many developments over the past ten decades, the school’s original aims and Christian origins endure today.
St Matthew’s evolved from the vision of Miss Ella Hampton, a brilliant student with an insatiable desire to learn. She desperately wanted to do something more in society than follow the general pattern for women in the early 1900s.
Ella Hampton graduated from Otago University in 1900, partially deaf and blind as a result of scarlet fever. She moved with her family to Masterton in 1904 and established her own day school for boys and girls. As Ella’s hearing became more impaired, she unfortunately had no choice but to give up her school.
Ella Hampton’s private school was bought by St Matthew’s Church Vestry in 1913 and in 1914 opened as St Matthew’s Collegiate School on the Church Street site in Masterton. It then moved across the road from the church and in 1917 moved to its current site.
In 1917 St Matthew’s began to enrol boarders who lived in a boarding hostel with the school teachers. The main school building (now Main House for boarders) opened in 1921 as a day school only and was completed in 1926.
The Parents’ Association was formed in 1928 and combined with the Old Girls’ Association in 1933.
Rathkeale College for boys was founded in 1963 and in 1982 the Senior College system began where year 12 and 13 St Matthew’s students joined Rathkeale students on the Rathkeale campus for classes.
Ten years later in 1992, St Matthew’s entered into a partnership with the Crown to become part of the state-funded public education system while maintaining its defined special character which sets it apart from other schools in the state system.
St Matthew’s celebrated its 100 year Centenary in March 2014. We had a fabulous weekend of celebrations for current and former students, families and friends of the school.