Our School Crest

A very real symbol of our school is the School Shield. This is present on our uniform, letterhead, vehicles and buildings. It is the visual representation of our school, and most who live in Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty recognize it as the key image that has been associated with our school for over a century.

Our Shield, however, is not only a visual symbol, it also reflects very clearly a set of values, beliefs and relationships which we as a school stand for. Our Shield represents much to do with the philosophy of the School, and our commitment to the young men of the city since 1914. Our Shield represents our desire to aim high and reach for the stars. It is compatible with our vision “To become the outstanding Boys’ High School in New Zealand”.

The Shield, as it stands today, was fully developed by 1927. This was when the Māori
Head atop the central shield, which was designed in 1915, and the scroll beneath the central shield with the Latin Motto were the last features to be added to it in 1927. The central shield, its four symbols, and the Motto Scroll were all coloured that same year, but the colours for the Māori Head were not finally determined until 2018. There are six key elements to our Shield as follows:

  1. The Open Book – this of course refers to learning and education.
  2. The White Rose of York – This is a traditional heraldic symbol and demonstrates the historical relationship of our school to Great Britain.
  3. The Lion – Again this is a traditional heraldic symbol particularly common to Grammar Schools, demonstrating the relationship of the School to British traditions. Furthermore, the Lion stands for strength, courage, honour, and the determination to never to give up, and to overcome adversity.
  4. The Crown – This demonstrates the relationship of the School to the Sovereign and the Crown. The Crown is also a symbol of authority and leadership. It is about setting in place, a pathway for success in life and working towards realizing one’s ambitions with determination and enthusiasm.
  5. The Māori Head “Tane Raukura” – This is symbolic of the relationship of the School with Ngati Whakaue, and acknowledges the 1880 endowment by Ngati Whakaue of the land for the establishment of the new Town of Rotorua in 1881. The position of this Māori Head atop the central shield is indicative of the value given to this relationship. In 2020, it was given the name Tane Raukura.
  6. The Latin Motto – This Motto was selected by A.R. Ryder (Principal from 1927-1931) from a public competition held in Rotorua for this purpose in 1927. It has been translated to represent “To the stars through adversity” or “To the stars through hard work”. More recently and more appropriately perhaps, given the bi-cultural makeup of the School today, the Māori equivalent “Whaia Te Iti Kahurangi” was adopted in 1990. This is now boldly displayed on the front of the main school building for everyone who arrives at the School to see.

Since 1915, this Shield has been worn with pride and has been our own special and particular symbol. More than that, it is a statement of what is important to our school community. Our Shield tells the story of our school and that story is as appropriate today as it was when it was first designed, and then modified as the School developed in its early years. The result is the defining symbol of our school today.


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