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Our Story

Papatoetoe High School is a co-educational year 9–13 state secondary school that has more than 60 years of history and tradition. Set in just over eleven hectares of attractively presented grounds in Papatoetoe, Auckland, the school offers multi-level programmes to a school population which reflects the overall mix of New Zealand society. 


The school’s facilities provide for approximately 1500 students who are in the care of over 150 teaching and non-teaching staff. The staff, which is almost evenly split between males and females, enjoys a mix of youth and experience and are involved in a wide range of professional development opportunities to continue to provide the best for those in their care. The staff also encourage participation in a wide range of out-of class activities which help to make the school a more enjoyable place in which to thrive and learn.

The founding principal, Mr Colin McGill, was with the school for the first ten years.  Mr Bruce Hunter was then at the helm from 1966 to 1978.  The school’s third principal, Mr Hugh Richards, actually joined the staff as a first year teacher in 1962.  Our previous principal, Mr Peter Gall, spent twenty years as principal. There would be very few schools in New Zealand that could boast only four principals in sixty years of operation. Our current principal, Mr Vaughan Couillault, has returned to Papatoetoe High School as Principal, previously attending as a Student, Teacher and Associate Principal. Mr Couillault rejoined the Papatoetoe High School team in February 2016 and is set to spend many more years here again.


Papatoetoe High enjoys a diverse culture and warmth of its people whether it is staff, students, family or the wider community.  Sincerity, trust and loyalty are the rule, not the exception at this school.  


Papatoetoe High School is accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications 

Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989 to provide education 

and training based on the National Qualifications Framework in all conventional school subjects.


Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be a Learner. 

'Digne Lampada Tradas; worthy to hand on the torch'

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