Bessie Te Wenerau Grace

Ngāti Tūwharetoa

She was educated at Nelson Girls’ College and then began B.A. studies at Canterbury College in 1905 and 1906. In 1912 she taught at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch. In 1922 she professed and took the name of Sister Eudora and in 1926 she graduated with a B.A. She became head of St Hilda’s Collegiate School for Girls, Dunedin, until 1939 when she became principal of St Michael’s Grammar School in Melbourne a position she held until 1944. She ‘had worked in Community schools in the United Kingdom at Broadstairs and St Mary’s, and in New Zealand…. She was the grand-daugher of Te Heuheu Tukino on her mother’s side and the Reverend Thomas Grace.’ At Canterbury University ‘she had excelled in every avenue of university life, winning a university blue in tennis and actively working for the executive of the Canterbury Students’ Association. She received her BA from Canterbury in 1926, followed by an MA with first-class honours from the University of London….Her letters were always signed ‘Your Loving Eudora CSC’, an epithet that few in the school would dispute during the four short years she would spend with them.’

Biographical sources

  • Peel, Victoria. St Michael’s Grammar School: A Study in Educational Change. Allen & Unwin, 1999. 142


  • "Cottage Notes." The Canterbury College Review May 1907: 24-27.
  • Written under the name Miss Grace. In this report from the “Cottage”, the centre for women students at Canterbury College, Grace pays tribute to the late Grace Wilson. She also reports on the Easter University Tournament at Auckland and the Exhibition.