Nelson College is the oldest state secular secondary school in New Zealand founded on April 7, 1856 in Nelson, New Zealand. It is a mixed day and boarding school for boys aged 13 (Form III/Year 9) to 18 (Form VII/Year 13), and also runs a small Preparatory Department for Forms I and II (Years 7/8). Nelson College currently educates just over 1 000 boys.
A team from Nelson College took part in the first game of rugby played in New Zealand, against the Nelson Rugby Football Club on May 14, 1870 at what is now known as the Botanic Reserve, Nelson. The Quadrangular Rugby Football Tournament occurs annually between Nelson College, Wellington College, Christ's College and the Wanganui Collegiate School . The Quadrangular is reputed to be one of the oldest organised rugby tournaments in the world.
The current Head Master of Nelson College is Salvi Gargiulo.
Famous Old Nelsonians
- Leonard Henry Trent (Victoria Cross)
- Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson (Nobel Prize, Chemistry)
- Sir Wallace (Bill) Rowling (Prime Minister of New Zealand)
- Sir Geoffrey Palmer (Prime Minister)
- Don McKinnon (Deputy Prime Minister, now Commonwealth Secretary-General)
- Rex Sellers (Olympic gold medal--Tornado yachting class, 1984)
- Andrew Livingston (Professor of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London)