History of Dio

In 1909, Mrs May Whitehorn established Sonning School in a small home in Milton Street, Hamilton.

Sonning School began with only four pupils, however as the roll increased, the school moved to larger premises in Anglesea Street.

The school outgrew these premises also and land was purchased and a new school built on the eastern side of the railway bridge.  This school was named Sonning after the Berkshire Village from which the Whitehorn family originated. 

The first Bishop of the Waikato, Cecil Cherrington, had a vision of an Anglican Girls School in Hamilton.  The Waikato Board for Diocesan Schools, formed in 1927, leased Sonning School from Mrs Whitehorn and then, in 1929, bought property at the current site in River Road, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Waikato Diocesan School was officially opened in 1928 with a roll of 13 boarders and 70 day girls.  The school opened at its permanent site in 1930, consisting of its flagship building, Cherrington, the Homestead (Bankwood House), a barn, which was used as both hall and chapel, and open-air classrooms.

The school has continued to grow and has had 13 principals, and now has a roll of around 670 students. 


Dio becomes a years 9-13 state-integrated secondary school.


Chapel development rededicated.


Dio becomes a state-integrated school.


New school chapel dedicated by
Archbishop R. H. Owen, Bishop of Waikato.


Dio is registered as a private primary and secondary school.


Waikato Diocesan School for Girls opens.


Veritate, Simplicitate, Fidelitate
(by Truthfulness, by Straightforwardness, by Loyalty)
becomes school motto.


Sonning School opens.


Have you ever visited the Waikato Diocesan School Archives? Have you ever thought of donating your school memorabilia to the archives? 

Depositing material in the school archives ensures that it will be available in perpetuity.  It could include photographs of people, buildings, special events or sports groups.  Publications such as school newspapers, newsletters, rules and handbooks, scrapbooks, newspaper cutting books, and particularly memorabilia from past pupils can be deposited in the archives.  Pupil workbooks, programmes and invitations to special events are of particular interest.  School uniforms, badges and other textile materials are stored in a special room in the archives.

If you have anything you believe may be of significance to the school history, please feel free to leave it at the school office or contact the archives office.  


Email: archives@wdsg.school.nz
Phone: 07 855 2038