St Joseph’s School, Papanui was opened in 1878. The Sisters of Mercy were asked to take over teaching the St Joseph’s children in 1894.

The children were first taught in the old brick Church, but soon new classrooms were built.

As more and more families moved into the area, the school role increased, and more classrooms were built.

The Sister had to travel to school each day by horse and cart, until they were able to travel by tram.