The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions started a convent school with a boarding hostel in 1884. The school was for primary and secondary students, boys and girls, next to where St Joseph’s Church is now in New Plymouth. In 1960, the school shifted to its present site on Pukaka Street and was renamed Sacred Heart Girls’ College.
The boarders remained at the hostel in town until 1970, when Sacred Heart Hostel was opened. The name of the hostel was changed to Elizabeth House in 2000 to commemorate the last principal who was a sister of Our Lady of the Missions, Sister Elizabeth Molloy. Sr. Elizabeth is carrying on her good work in Kenya. The hostel has a caring, family atmosphere for up to 84 boarders.
The College became an integrated secondary school with an attached intermediate in 1982. This means that the government now pays teachers’ salaries and an operations grant for running the school. The buildings are owned by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions who have handed over their responsibilities for the land and buildings to the Mission College New Plymouth Trust Board. The Centennial Wing, containing art and music rooms, the library, staffroom and administration area opened in 1984. In the 1990’s the College has expanded more. We have been provided with a four classroom Mathematics Block, a three classroom Religious Studies Block and a three classroom Technology Block to cater for these extra students. The Memorial Block: Five classrooms (including soft materials technology) opened in Term 2, 2004, funded by a TSB loan and a development levy. In March 2007 a new Events Centre was opened, allowing for whole school assemblies and masses and much improved sports facilities. The building also contains a classroom and accommodation for up to 200 spectators on a mezzanine floor.
The Events Centre provides indoor netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton courts. Four outdoor tennis courts, and a sports field which was completed in 1986, allow students to take part in summer and winter activities. Sport is an important part of College life. Netball, Basketball and Tennis have always been popular but sporting opportunities for girls now include such activities as: Rugby, Touch Rugby, Indoor Rowing and Cross Country. This would have surprised the girls and their teachers in 1884.
Sacred Heart still lives by and teaches the values that Jesus Christ taught. So we still want our students to be the best that they can be in every part of their lives. We have a strong academic focus and a wide range of extra-curricular activities that students can be involved in. We believe that everyone is special because God loves us. This is the way we continue to do the work started by Euphrasie Barbier and her early band of missionary sisters.