The college was founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1908 and originally sited at Pukekura, near Cambridge. The founder principal was Pastor Frank Chaney from Massachusetts. Not only was he the principal, but he was responsible for the design and construction of the original school, built largely with volunteer student labour.
A decision was made to relocate the college to Longburn in 1913 to be closer to the centre of the country’s population at that time. Initially the college at Longburn was known as the ‘Oroua Missionary College’.
In those early days the focus was on training young people for missionary service and most students worked, as well as studied, to pay their fees. The college ran a dairy farm, commercial vegetable garden, glasshouses, a basket factory and a lampshade business and it was from these enterprises that students earned their fees. Subjects originally offered included building construction, agriculture, secretarial and Bible work.
Following World War Two, secondary school classes were added to the courses offered at Longburn and in the 1960s the first year of a BA in Theology could be completed here. Primary teacher training was offered in the early 1970s until 1990. Up until the 1970s most Longburn students were boarders, but day students began to increase in numbers as local residents took advantage of the secondary schooling offered at Longburn.
In the late 1980s the college began to struggle for student numbers as the fees needed to run a private school excluded a number of potential students.
In 1993 Longburn became a fully state-integrated school operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and student numbers have increased to the point where they hold around the 280-300 mark each year.
Longburn Adventist College is now a Year 7-13 school with the majority of our students being day students, mainly from the Palmerston North area.
College Names since 1908
Pukekura Training School (Cambridge): 1908-1912
Oroua Missionary College: 1913-1923
New Zealand Missionary College: 1924-1966
Longburn College: 1967-1985
Longburn Adventist College: 1986-present