Our history in New Zealand

Good Shepherd has worked in New Zealand for 130 years. Good Shepherd was founded in France in 1835 by Saint Mary Euphrasia with the determination to assist women and children in most need.


Our History

Around 1880, Father Lawrence Ginaty, a Marist priest whose pastoral care included the women’s prison in Christchurch, became acutely aware of the unmet needs of women when they returned to the community, particularly their need for a safe place to live.

Having heard of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and their ministry to disadvantaged women in Melbourne, he contacted them and set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the arrival of the Sisters in Christchurch in 1886.

Father Ginaty set about raising the necessary funds to enable the Sisters to establish a refuge for women and, in due course, land was purchased at Halswell. The foundation stone was laid on 17 February 1886 with more than 5,000 people present - and the Sisters’ work began in New Zealand. 

In 1932 a house was established in Auckland and in 1945 in Upper Hutt. The Sisters transferred from Upper Hutt to a more suitable area in the country, Te Horo, in 1953. In 1966, they took over the administration of “Rosanna” at Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt, a hostel for young, unmarried expectant mothers.

After almost 100 years of carrying out their ministry to women and girls in residential settings, the Sisters responded to changing policies by closing the institutions. They moved into smaller residences in order to live and work more closely with local communities.

Over the past 30 years the Sisters have worked in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Palmerston North, Taupo and Mt Roskill, Papakura, Papatoetoe and Manurewa in Auckland. They have worked to address some of the issues that cause women and girls to become marginalised. This includes homelessness, unemployment, lack of education or work skills, being at risk of exploitation, lack of family support and nurture, addiction and poverty.

Today, Good Shepherd New Zealand continues the work begun by the Sisters. The organisation has developed strong, values-based relationships with partners to meet emerging local needs and contribute in a meaningful and sustainable way.

St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, Foundress, Good Shepherd Sisters


Good Shepherd Archive

The Good Shepherd Archive is located in Abbotsford, Melbourne (Australia). The Archive cares for the records of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Australia and New Zealand dating from 1863 until the present day.

The collection includes many records about the Sisters’ work with women and girls. Register books of admission and discharge have been retained for most residential convents in Australia and New Zealand. The Archive offers a research service to former residents, to their relatives and to people interested in the Good Shepherd mission in Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. The research service operates by mail; the Archive is not open to the public and is a part-time service.

All requests for personal information must be accompanied by some form of personal identification such as a copy of your birth certificate or a copy of your current driver’s licence. If you are applying for information about another person, their permission is required. If you are applying for information about a person who is deceased, proof of death is required. Proof of your relationship to the deceased person is also required.

Contact Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand at:
PO Box 182
Abbotsford Vic 3067

info@goodshep.com.au | Phone: +61 3 9270 9700