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Hato Petera College grew out of the Education Ordinance of 1847. St Marys industrial school for Māori Boys opened 1849. On 19 August 1850, Governor Grey entrusted 376 acres 1 rood and 28 perches of land in Northcote to the Catholic Church to support St Marys, for the purpose of Māori education and the poor. St Marys was destroyed by fire 1923. St Peter’s Catechist School opened with 13 students on Sunday 3 June 1928. Two Mill Hill Fathers, Father Bruning and Father Spierings, formed the staff.
In 1946 St Peters Māori College changed to a registered secondary school the Marist Brothers were invited to staff the new department. Two Marist Brothers were appointed to the staff, Brother Patrick (Principal) and Brother Edward. In the 1960’s the Marist Brothers took charge of both the hostel and school. The College began to excel academically.
In 1972 the College changed its name to Hato Petera more in keeping with the aspirations of the Māori people.
In 1984 the College began another phase in its history, that of Māori self-management. Mr Toby Curtis, an old boy, was appointed Principal. In 1988 Mr Lang Davis, also an old boy, assumed the reigns of the College during an exciting time when the future educational direction was being determined. Upon the retirement of Lang Davis at the end of 1996, Brother David McDonald, a Marist Brother and Maori was appointed Principal. 2011 Mr Hohepa Campbell was appointed principal. In 2012 Mr John Matthews old boy was appointed and is the current Principal.
Hato Petera College is the only Māori Catholic Co-educational Secondary School in the world. Support of the Māori Catholic Special Character of the college is essential before a student can be considered for enrolment.
2016 boarding facilities closed and are no longer offered by the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.