The Villa Maria College Foundation is a legal charitable Foundation, set up by the Proprietors of the College, the Board of Trustees, and the Past Pupils’ Association. The Foundation exists to create financial security and choice for the College and its students. Established in 2005, the Foundation team is working to build an investment fund to benefit the school’s future, however, it regularly gives to the College for immediate needs.
The Mercy character guides the Foundation in its work, leading it to invest in ongoing work like the Mercy Scholarship, gifts for school leavers and a new prayer space for the girls’ daily spiritual needs.
The Foundation believes in Villa Maria’s ability to help shape our community’s brightest, smartest and most compassionate young women. We sincerely thank you for being part of our efforts to create a lasting and financially secure legacy for our treasured College.
The objectives of the Foundation include:
For more than 100 years, Villa Maria College has helped thousands of young women realise their potential and it is up to us to ensure this tradition of excellence is maintained for the young women of tomorrow.
Please click here to download the Foundation brochure.
Anita Moke (nee Auimatagi) is an inspirational young woman, who hasn’t let challenges she has faced define the person she is today. Anita hasn’t had the easiest road in life, particularly during her years at Villa, but she has turned this all around and now helps young people who face their own hardships. Anita has kindly agreed to share her journey.
“I spent a huge part of my schooling life at Villa, and I attended from Year 7 right through to Year 13. I was the only girl who attended Villa from my primary school, so I had to make all new friendships. Most of the friends I met at Villa are still my best friends, who I have gone on to share so much of my life with.
“The sisterhood we formed within our year group was important to me. At the time, cultural diversity was not what it is now. At Villa, there were so many people from different backgrounds, different life experiences, and different socio economic groups, but this did not define groups. I love how you can run into girls you haven’t seen in years and it feels like no time has passed. That says a lot to me about the bond and sisterhood we share.
“As a young half Samoan and half NZ European girl attending a school on the other side of town to where I lived, there were times that I noticed my differences to others more than my similarities. Teachers like Christine O’Neil (previously known as Mrs O’Brien) were instrumental in my earlier years at Villa. After losing my father while I was in Year 9 and struggling to cope with the grief, my behaviour and schooling began to suffer. In spite of this, Mrs O’Neil continued to support me in the classroom and kept me engaged through my love and interest of Classics and her knowledge of Roman and Greek mythology. Another outlet I embraced was Drama as a way of expression. This was further inspired by my teacher at the time, Elaine Butler, who’s lively class lessons and love for Jane Austen and William Shakespeare had me captivated.
“When I attended Villa, there was no scholarship available for people in hardship or who for whatever reason would not normally attend a school like Villa. After my father passed away our family’s financial position changed significantly. At the time, my brother was also in attendance at St Thomas of Canterbury, so the school costs were a lot for a single parent, who was working full time as well as doing cleaning jobs on top to afford to put us through school and pay the costs of living. We were very fortunate to have Mrs Mary Lynch as Principal at the time, who was empathetic and understanding of our family’s position, and I was able to keep attending Villa without the financial burden on the family.
“Life after Villa has not been a straight forward road. I took time off to figure out what it was I wanted to do. I started out doing hairdressing which led me to work for the Rodney Wayne and Synergy hairdressing franchises over ten years. In the latter part of my hairdressing career, I decided to return to study to be a Social Worker. After completing my Bachelor of Social Work, I went on to work with children and youth in truancy. In this job I worked with at risk children aged 6-16 who were disengaged and non-enrolled in any form of education. From there I took my experience of working with children and families with high complex needs to my now current job at the Early Start Project – which specialises in early intervention with families and children ages antenatal to 5 years old.
“I love working in the community and working with our most vulnerable families. Early Start is an intensive home visiting service that provides support and education to families who are vulnerable and at risk in our community. I am passionate about early intervention and being able to work proactively and in a preventative manner with families. I am currently working with another colleague alongside our young parent client group. As a service, we wish to ensure our young parents have access to the best pathway for information and support from the antenatal stage, birth and until the child is ready for school. We work with young parents to create and achieve child and family plans that will encourage our clients to set and achieve goals that may not have been possible without education and support.
“Being a Mercy woman represents to me all the values I aim to live my life by and hope to install in my own daughter – serving those who are in need, leading with love and compassion, bringing hope and using my gifts I have been blessed with to make a difference.”
Anita is happily married and a mum to two beautiful preschool aged children, Honor and Ezra.
To support the Foundation and the scholarship it provides each year, make a donation into the Foundation’s account: 06-0831-0175581-00
Donations may be made directly to The Villa Maria College Foundation, 21 Peer Street, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand. A donation form can be downloaded here. Donations are tax deductible and receipts will be provided.
Bequests can be organised through your solicitor, please download this form and return it to:
The Villa Maria College Foundation
21 Peer Street, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand