Demand for Catholic education across Auckland has sparked multi-million-dollar plans for four new schools, one earmarked to take up to 1000 pupils.

Kerry Coleman, Auckland Catholic Diocese general manager, said the new schools at Hillsborough, Drury, Takanini and Riverhead would each cost more than $5 million to build.

Mr Coleman said the first of the new schools at Hillsborough was due to open next year.

"We've been working on this for a long, long time. The Government helps us with the new schools financially and the diocese looks ahead, takes a 30-year view of metropolitan Auckland.

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"So it was 15 to 20 years ago that the question was asked and answered about future growth."

Two big new Catholic schools were built last decade, then further land was acquired for the next four, he said.

A secondary school and then a primary school opened at Sancta Maria College, Flat Bush and a primary school at Silverdale's Stella Maris.

"We've identified Takanini and Riverhead as further future growth areas. At Takanini we have ministry support to build a primary school so we will open there in January 2017.

"The opening roll will be 260 students and it will be built with an infrastructure to expand to 400 students.

"At Drury, we have a site on Burtt Rd and the plan is to build a secondary school. The ministry are supportive of that in principle and completing their demographic analysis.

"We could probably open that school with something like 500 pupils and then in time we would expect it to get up to about 1000 pupils," Mr Coleman said.

"We realised we needed to secure land in the far west and we now own an 8.1ha site in Riverland Rd, Riverhead. We would like to build a whole campus with a primary, secondary school and a church. It might just be a primary school and a parish centre to start with," he said.

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"At Hillsborough Rd, it's Monte Cecilia Primary School and the Auckland Council acquired the school to add to the park.

"A condition of that agreement was that the council would replace the school so a new school opens in the Hillsborough parish in February 2016."

Nationally, 65,000 students are educated in the state integrated Catholic school system - 25,000 in Auckland, he said.

Catholic schools have highly restricted rolls and are legally barred from taking any more than 5 per cent of non-Catholic pupils.

Katrina Casey, the ministry's head of sector enablement and support, said the Catholic schools were not private and the diocese had to contribute substantially when it sought new schools.

"We work alongside the Auckland Catholic Diocese to determine how it can provide a Catholic education to families who want one for their children. Catholic schools are state-integrated which means they are state-funded but their classrooms and property are not managed by the ministry but owned and maintained by a proprietor, in this case the church."

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• Monte Cecilia, Hillsborough: Relocated school opening next year with about 150 students, growing to 175.
• Burtt Rd, Drury: Plans are for up to 1000 students eventually.
• 8.1ha site in Riverland Rd, Riverhead: Likely to have a minimum of 260 Students, growing eventually to 500-plus.
• Trinity Catholic Primary School, Takanini: Opens January 2017. Expected to have an opening roll of 260.