Ms Dawn Jones (ex-Diocesan) and Mr John Graham (ex-Auckland Grammar School), both well-known and highly respected educationalists and past principals of top New Zealand schools, developed the idea of a senior school for Auckland (ACG Senior College) in 1994. They wanted to create a unique place of learning, fashioned on the best of international models.
The idea was backed by financial advisers including Mr Danny Chan; and Mr Ian King contributed to the education 'business' development. All the founders had worked in education at school or university level and all shared a vision for liberal but academically focussed schools.
Dawn Jones became the first Principal of ACG Senior College in 1995 and guided it to becoming a school where students loved to learn and where teachers could enthusiastically focus on the meaning and ideas within their subjects. Many students and their families have benefitted from the special atmosphere and focussed learning culture of ACG Senior College.
Also in 1995, ACG New Zealand International College was created to meet the needs of immigrant families. Schools did not teach English Language in 1995. By adding an extra 9 hours to the teaching week, immigrant and international students were able to successfully attain university entrance through the NZ Bursary Examinations. The University of Auckland endorsed the programme in 1999 by developing the Foundation Studies Certificate, and subsequently, thousands of international students have successfully gone on to New Zealand university study through ACG NZIC. The related ACG English School was established in 1999.
In 1998 ACG Junior College was established and went on to become the outstanding ACG Parnell College of today in New Zealand's first 'urban-design' school. It too developed a great way of motivating students and teachers and is highly regarded. ACG Junior College got started as the first 'new' ACG School. Mr Clarence van der Wel was appointed Principal the next year.