Nelson College



Nelson College is the oldest state boys’ secondary school dating from 1856. It currently has 1,142 students (with 166 boarders). It is set in 22 hectares of lush greenery and is one of the most prominent landmarks in the Nelson region. It has range of illustrious alumni with two former Prime Ministers and one Nobel Laureate, who studied there. It has a sister girls’ school, and some joint classes are held between the schools. It offers IELTS and SAT training plus the opportunity to sit for the suite of Cambridge exams. This is one of the most prestigious secondary schools in the world at an affordable price and offers the option of boarding or homestay.

Pastoral Care & Support


  • ESOL classes in all school years by specialist teachers.
  • IELTS course is compulsory for all international students in Year 13.
  • IELTS is optional course for international students in Year 12.
  • Year 13 Leaders give the younger students strong support through the mentoring programme


  • On-site medical facility.
  • Counselors and careers advisors
  • Mentors from both the College and local community
  • PTA Committee – all parents and other persons are welcome to join, which is a beneficial influence for the welfare and progress of the students and college

Academic Success

Continuous Excellence

  • Scholarships that included three outstanding ones.
  • 11 students won scholarships across eight different subjects.
  • 2014 DUX Finn Whittington gained five scholarships two of which were Outstanding.
  • In 2014 over 90 students qualified for Nelson College Academic Colours by achieving Level 1 or Level 2 endorsed with Merit or Excellence.

Fees & Timetable

Tuition Fee:
Full yearNZD14,400
3 termsNZD11,250
2 termsNZD7,650
1 termNZD3,900
Application feeNZD250
NZ Government levyNZD430 / year
Travel and administration feeNZD200
Boarding Fee:
Full yearNZD13,000
3 termsNZD11,250
2 terms NZD7,650
1 termNZD3,900
Homestay facilitationNZD200
Uniforms (EST)NZD800
NCEA fee (Year 11-13)NZD383.30
Insurance / year (EST)NZD500
Pocket moneyNZD30-60 / week

13 Feb 20162 Apr 2016
22 May 20168 Jul 2016
325 Jul 201623 Sep 2016
410 Oct 201615 Dec 2016

Student Success Stories

  • TWO New Zealand Prime Ministers Sir Wallace Rowling (from 1974) and Sir Geoffrey Palmer (from 1989) as alumni as well as Nobel Laureate Lord Ernest Rutherford who won the Chemistry Prize 1908.
  • Nelson College students won a trophy when representing NZ in the International Future Problem Solvers Competition in the United State in June 2015.

Lifestyle Balance

Nelson College provides a variety of activities and sports for students, e.g. basketball, boxing, drama, football, gymnastics, hockey, cricket, MotoX, volleyball, sailing and rugby etc. A unique outdoor education programme is provided at Matakitaki Lodge. This is a College-owned property on the border of Nelson Lakes National Park near Murchison, 120km south of Nelson. In 2014, the college was awarded more than 23 National Titles & National Representative Honours.

  • Recently Nelson College won NZ Secondary Schools Football Championship
  • 2014 won the 1st in New Zealand Language Perfect – Fijian
  • Got the NZ Representative Shakespeare Globe International

  • In science area, awarded 1st in National Senior Science Competition & Top scorer in Bis Science Competition (International)
  • Duke of Edinburgh Gold Medal Award
  • Won the Future Problem Solving National Champions

Application Forms

Student Testimonials

  • Karl Klempin, Year 13, Germany

    I honestly have to admit, I never enjoyed school so much as I did and still do at Nelson College. School has turned into a great place since I am in New Zealand. It’s where many things happen and you meet your friends.  The teachers are great, making lessons really interesting and actually making it fun to learn. I will always remember my time at Nelson College, maybe as one of the greatest of my life.

  • Chan Woo, Year 10, Korea

    I have been in New Zealand three months. When I arrived I was given a very good impression and I did not feel strange because the teachers and students were very friendly. Before I came to New Zealand, some people said “its hard to make friends in another country”. Korea has a common saying; “to see it once is better than to hear about it a hundred times”. After I came to Nelson I think everyone else was wrong. Now my fourth month has started. My English is getting better and I have more friends.

ERO Report

The Education Review Office reported recently:

“Careers education and guidance: good practice.”
The report focuses on good practice and showcases 10 secondary schools with high quality careers education. Nelson College is one of the 10 schools featured. It identifies factors that contribute to high quality careers education and guidance in New Zealand secondary schools. Age-appropriate careers education and guidance increased students’ knowledge as they moved through secondary school. Carefully timed careers education linked well with subject choices so students were better informed about possible pathways.”

This is a report done by the Ministry of Education to the quality of schools across New Zealand.

See the ERO report

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