Our History

In 1911 the Reverend Doctor James Kennedy was appointed Parish Priest to the new parish of Methven and Rakaia. He invited the Sisters of Mercy to Methven to open a school for the education of the Catholic children of the district. In 1912 the convent was built with two rooms to be used as classrooms. On February 6th the school was opened with about 30 pupils and the era of Catholic education began in Methven.

Sister Mary Joseph and Sister Benedicta were the teaching Sisters and Sister Mary Patrick was the cook. The school was known in those days as the 'Convent School'. This temporary arrangement lasted for 45 years and as the roll grew over the years, the original classrooms became cramped and inadequate.

In 1956 Father Tom Farrell was appointed as Parish Priest in Methven. His first project was to build a new church but he was persuaded by parents that a school was the first priority. Plans were drawn up for a new two-classroom block to be built to replace the two rooms being used as classrooms in the convent. Father Farrell, along with hard working parishioners and parents, worked tirelessly to raise the necessary funds and with further funding from the Diocese the school was built.

On March 9th, 1958 the new school was blessed and opened by Bishop Edward Joyce. The name was changed to Our Lady of the Snows—a name considered very appropriate for the district. The new church was completed in 1963 and the old church was converted into a third classroom. The staff increased to three teachers. The first lay teacher, Mrs Julie Middleton, began teaching at the school in 1971 as there was an increasing shortage of Mercy Sisters to staff all the Catholic schools of the Diocese. The old church was eventually moved off site and was replaced by a prefabricated classroom in 1980.

Our Lady of the Snows was integrated into the state system in 1982 and the last teaching Sister, Sister Maureen Walsh, left the school in 1983, ending 71 years of service to teaching by the Mercy Sisters in Methven. Mrs Jacqui Duncan became the first lay principal in 1984.

In 2002, Our Lady of the Snows School was completely renovated, including a new classroom, a development unit, refurbished classrooms, new toilets/cloak bay, a library, a teacher resource area and a revamped administration area and staffroom. To acknowledge this development, Rev Monsignor Gerard O’Connor blessed and opened the new and renovated school buildings on November 3rd, 2002.

In 2009 a further new classroom was added and the ramp extended. A verandah was added to link the buildings. Following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 the school buildings were all tested for strength in the event of another earthquake. The main classroom, library and administration block were flagged as a concern and in 2013 the building was re-clad with linear weatherboards.

In 2013/14 the school introduced a BYOD policy and brought iPad technology to the classrooms. Our Lady of the Snows continues to move from strength to strength and still provides a quality Catholic education for Years 1-8 in Methven.