Garin History


Garin College is a Catholic co-educational College formed in 2002 and is the only Catholic Secondary School for our ‘top of south’ community.

The College takes its name from Antoine Marie Garin, who was a French Catholic Marist Priest, missionary and educationalist. Garin came to New Zealand in 1841 and for the next 40 years Garin contributed hugely to the development of education in the area. In Nelson, he was responsible for education early in Nelson’s history and opened orphanages for both girls and boys as early as 1872.

Father Garin’s legacy lives on today through the Churches that he built and in the Catholic Schools of the area – St Joseph’s Primary School and our College (Garin College).


Discovery of an unpublished document written by Father Garin

During 2001, a New Zealand Sister belonging to the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary – Sister Catherine Jones – was undertaking some historical research in the Marist Fathers’ archives in Rome. She discovered a document presented in the form of a world map drawn by Father Garin. It shows the day by day journal of the travels that brought him to New Zealand. On the space left free from the drawing of the continents he wrote a letter to his parents giving the minute details of his trip. It is a remarkable and colossal work. The SMSM Sister made a copy of it, which is presently at the Abbey of St Rambert.

There is another copy in the Garin College office, where we also have Father Garin’s schoolboy atlas and other items that belonged to him.