Welcome to Murchison Area School

Principal’s Message:

At Murchison Area School we are committed to providing the very best education that we can for our students in a strong, caring environment.

The benefit of attending our area school allows our students access to wider areas of the curriculum and resources onsite and with specialist staff in all areas of the curriculum. We are very well resourced with modern facilities including a heated indoor swimming pool, the use of a magnificent sports stadium and a very strong Learning Support Area to provide inclusive and equitable education to all. We provide a chrome book, i-pad or lap top to every student in the school for there day to day learning.

Pastoral care at our school is paramount to enabling students to develop academically, physically, socially and personally. We place a high value on the following areas.


Healthy Relationships, Raising Achievement, Personal Growth.

The school recognises the unique nature of our area in terms of life style, tourism and friendliness. We are able to offer a variety of learning opportunities which cater for the needs of all students from Year 0 to Year 13.
Our Primary syndicate has small class sizes and a low teacher/pupil ratio, currently 15. This allows us to have great relationships and focus upon raising achievement for all our students. We employ highly qualified and experienced staff who place a high value on education and the wider, whole person. Academic achievement in our whole school is excellent and extremely high in our Primary syndicates.

Secondary students have the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects with Specialist staff within school and we also utilise strong Distance Learning Options such as Te Kura, Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and many other providers. This allows us to provide all the courses and subjects required by our students for whichever pathway they may wish to embark on. We have very strong academic results enabling our students to move onto Tertiary education at University, Polytechnic or into the field of employment. The school also works closely with the our local community to place students in work experience and Gateway Placements. We  also place students in the Top of the South Island Trade Academies, therefore allowing our students to work in a Tertiary field whilst still being at school.
We are proud of the achievements of our young people. Murchison students can stand tall when they leave our school, knowing that they have been given every opportunity to succeed in what ever pathway they have chosen and flourish in.

Andy Ashworth


About Murchison

Murchison Area School serves a large area. Although a large number of students are within the town itself, others come from farming communities within neighbouring valleys and travel in to school daily.

The Murchison area is surrounded by national features including lakes, rivers, mountains and native forests, all protected in National Parks and other public reserves. Outdoor recreation industry provides abundant opportunities for caving, climbing, fishing, gold panning, hunting, jet boating, kayaking, rafting, tramping and wildlife appreciation; and our summer population increases to cater for the many travellers who come to the area seeking adventure tourism. We are keen to include aspects of our physical environment in our planning.

State Highway 6 runs through the centre of Murchison township, with Nelson, 1.5 hours north of us, Westport 1.5 hours south and Reefton 1 hour south east. The school is situated on the state highway in the centre of the township. The Buller River runs beside the school and therefore it is essential that pupils are provided with water skills. With the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, traffic has increased substantially along State Highway 6

Sport is a major part of community life with teams often travelling away to other towns for competitions. This small tight-knit community prides itself on its spirit and caring nature and the healthy option it provides for its people as an alternative to city living.
Our school roll is growing quickly and has increased by nearly 40% over the last 5 years to over 180. Our roll has historically been relatively transient though this has reduced in recent years. Our Maori roll fluctuates from 10-15%. Our local Marae is in Hokitika.
The school has many major strengths, including small class sizes, up to date ICT, modern facilities with significant recent roll growth building work and new classrooms.We have just spent roughly $4 million on major upgrades to our wonderful school site.We pride ourselves on strong relationships, great community links and a wide and varied curriculum accessible and appropriate to each individual student and whanau. We focus on our inclusive nature for all students, our EOTC and our commitment to Te Reo and Tikanga, again with significant financial investment and high class staffing.

Student achievement at Murchison is extremely high from Year 1 to Year 13 and significantly above national averages including for all Area Schools, all Decile 4 schools and all schools in total.