Mary Cameron Lewis, Jean Seabrook and Patricia Champion.

Roy Mckenzie opens the centre in the present premises 68 London St Richmond, in 1996. Anne Stercq looks on.

The history of Seabrook Mckenzie Centre  by Ngaio Hughey- Cockerell was published in 2013.

  • Early seventies: Jean Seabrook retires from her position at Teachers’ College, aware that the needs of children with specific learning difficulties are not being met within the education system or special education.

  • 1973: Jean Seabrook is one of the founding members of the SPELD Association established to lobby Government and to support families of people with Learning Disabilities.

  • 1983: Dr Seabrook and Mary Cameron Lewis establish the SPELD NZ Centre in Christchurch in McKenzie House, an old Merivale villa acquired with the support of the SPELD patron, Sir Roy McKenzie and the Roy McKenzie Foundation. Sir Roy also gifts a substantial number of Rangitira shares. The income from the shares enables the Centre to develop and maintain professional services for students with SLD.

  • 1991: The Seabrook McKenzie Centre is established under the patronage of Sir Roy, to take over the running of the Centre and allow for expansion of services to cater for the diverse needs of students with specific learning disabilities.
  • New developments are assisted by regular grants from the J.R. McKenzie Trust and the Roy McKenzie Foundation as well as personal donations from Sir Roy who maintains a close interest in the work of the Centre.

  • 1996: The Centre moves to its present location (totally self-funded) and establishes a multi-disciplinary team with the addition of occupational therapy and a speech language therapist. Again, this development is prompted by the difficulty securing these types of services for children desperately needing them. Although occupational therapy is available at the time, there is an 18 month waiting list. These new services are supported by a grant from the Community Trust.

  • 2005: The Trust opens a full-time school: Jean Seabrook Memorial School. It is a culmination of years of planning, sparked by frequent requests from parents for this type of service for their children with severe SLD who are not coping emotionally or academically in the mainstream schools.

  • 1995: In August 1995, the Seabrook McKenzie Centre gains registration from NZ Qualifications Authority as a private training establishment under the provisions of the Education Act 1989.

  • 2015-2016: After the Christchurch Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, earthquake repairs are carried out requiring the Centre to temporarily relocate to the former Richmond School for many months. In 2016 the Centre is back in the newly repaired premises.

  • 2019: Anne Stercq retires from Clinical Director position after over 25 years in the position. She is awarded the Christchurch Civic Award for Services to Special Education.

Anne Stercq receiving the Civic Award for Services to Special Education

Anne Stercq




The entrance and side view from our current premises at 68 London Street.