On 8th June 1949 the Parish of East Coast Bays was established, centred in Browns Bay. Father John Pierce was appointed Parish Priest. After the opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1959 the pattern of development on the North Shore made it clear that the Parish was going to expand rapidly and there was a growing need for a school. Five and a half acres of land was purchased at the top of Mairangi Bay.
The convent and School were built on the site. Archbishop Liston invited the Sisters of St Joseph of Nazareth to establish their first house in the Auckland Diocese and to staff the school. It was opened and blessed by him on 1 February 1961 with a roll of 124 children in two classroom blocks, consisting of 5 classrooms and an Administration area.
The foundation Head Teacher was Sister Mary Rose and Sisters Christine, Laboure and Kieran made up the staff. Registration was granted on 6 February following a visit from the Senior Inspector, Mr Joseph Box. Roll numbers increased and all five classrooms were in use by 1963.
During the early years St. John’s was a full primary, taking boys and girls to Form 2. St. John’s became a contributing school in 1977 with boys going to Rosmini College and girls to Carmel College at Intermediate level.
Over the years there have been some major developments to the buildings and the grounds. A parish hall was built with two classrooms underneath. These were opened in 1966.
Through the efforts of the PTFA, a learner’s pool was added to the school plant and opened in 1973 at a cost of $8,700. At the beginning of 1973 also, a small school library was built, converted from an open bay between classrooms.
In the mid 1970′s the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand reached an agreement with the Government to join the State School system. St. John’s School had a role of 225 pupils from New Entrants to Year 6 by 15 September 1982 when the school became officially integrated.
To bring the buildings up to the required State standard the proprietor (ie the Bishop) had to undertake major works. The capital works were financed by a 90% loan from the State at 7-7.5% interest, and the balance came from the Diocesan Development Fund. School fees would pay for debt servicing.
One new classroom was built between two rooms and another on the site of the earlier library. Another classroom was converted into an enlarged Administration Block, Principal’s Office, Staffroom, Library and Resource Room. In addition the two classrooms underneath the hall had to be upgraded and the court resurfaced and sealed.
The last of the Integration work was completed in 1996 with the building of a new toilet block and staffroom.