Mission Statement

Developing independent and creative thinkers and learners.


Thorndon Primary is a medium sized, inner city school with a long history, having been first established in 1852.

Since then the school and the district have been through many changes. In the early part of last century Thorndon was the largest school in the city, and housed the Teachers Training College for a while.

By the early 1990s the roll was down to under 100 but over the past 10 or 12 years the school has grown, in percentage terms, more than almost any other school in the Wellington area and the roll is now over 280. 

Thorndon School draws more than 50% of its pupils from the Greater Wellington area and beyond, rather than from the local area and this is because of a number of special features.

The school population is varied with about 10% Maori and 20% from ethnic and cultural groups other than Pakeha or Maori.

During the year 2000 two new classrooms were built as well as a new administration area. In the year 2002 the Board of Trustees introduced an enrolment scheme to manage the roll. During 2003 the school library was extended and refurbished and in 2004/2005 another new classroom was added while a number of older rooms were refurbished.

At the beginning of 2012 the Kimi Ora site was incorporated into Thorndon School and given the name: Ata Kimi Ora. In term 2 of 2012 the 'Noddy House', block D, was modified to become a classroom. It is now named Kaapuka.

In spite of its size the school enjoys good facilities, with two grassed playing fields and a sealed netball/basketball court. We also have access to the much larger fields at Wellington Girls' College for organised sports activities. The college allows us some use of their netball court and gives us, on occasion, limited access to their gym. During the summer the children swim at Thorndon Pool.

In 1992 the Board of Trustees had an Adventure Playground built with locally raised funds and this has further enhanced the facilities. This was re-developed in 2006 and further work was undertaken in 2007.

In 1999 a hall was donated to the school and moved onto our field. This hall, the Old St Paul's Schoolroom, has some historic links with the school, having been moved here from the original school site in Kate Shepherd Place. It is also, reputedly, the setting for the Katherine Mansfield short story, “Her First Ball”.

We have been repairing and modernising the hall ever since 1999, and in 2005 added a kitchen and toilets. The hall was reroofed in 2010 with assistance from The Wellington City Council Heritage Fund.

The school is well resourced, having a separate library, music room, a glasshouse for horticulture projects and comprehensive equipment for Science and Technology, Sport and PE, Music and Art. These resources are constantly being renewed and upgraded. In 1997 the school networked its computers and all rooms are now linked with each other as well as with the library and the office. We have a high-speed fibre optic link which gives all rooms fast access to the internet.

One of the major resources for the school is the city itself, and we are within walking distance of such places as Parliament, the City Library, the waterfront, theatres, the Michael Fowler Centre, the National Library and, for older children, Te Papa. Many other places of interest can be reached with a short ride by public transport. Groups of children regularly view exhibitions at the City Gallery and at Te Papa.

The school is also within easy walking distance of the Railway Station and the bus terminal.

The school has 12 classrooms, a library, a hall, an art room and a music room in addition to various resource spaces and offices.

The scattered nature of the school's enrolment has not hindered the development of a close relationship between the school and its client group and there is a very supportive parent community.

We try to hold a number of social events during the year, involving parents, staff and children. These usually take the form of a barbecue held at the school at about 5:30pm so that parents can come along after work. They have been well attended and are an opportunity for parents and staff to meet socially.

Each year the school organizes and runs the Thorndon Fair. This fair, which is the largest street fair in Wellington, has become an established part of the city's calendar. It is the school's major fund raising activity and because of the size of the event we try to get all parents involved in some way.

Because the school is still relatively small it is possible for staff to know most of the children and there is a great deal of interaction among the different age groups at the school. The size of the school makes it possible to develop a relaxed, family type of atmosphere and this is encouraged. A word often used to describe the school and the way it operates is 'informal'.

We welcome parents into the school and encourage parent help on trips, in classrooms, in the library and with the curriculum.

Children at Thorndon are encouraged to be creative, to develop independent learning skills, and to take some responsibility for their own learning.

We have a strong commitment to the arts and children are given many opportunities to participate in activities in the visual arts and to exhibit their work both inside and outside the school. Exhibitions of children's work have been held at cafes around town and in 2000 and 2002 the school actively participated in the Fringe Festival.

We welcome enquiries from interested parents and are happy for children and parents tovisit the school.

Special Needs

The school has a number of other special needs children and has a reputation for managing special needs, whether behavioural, physical or curriculum related, very well. 

After School Care

This is available daily within the school grounds between the hours of 3:00pm and 6:00pm at a very reasonable cost. Holiday programmes are also run from the school.