Chaplains at AUT

The team of faith servant leaders are experienced and approachable chaplains who take an active interest in their work with people. Most of them conduct regular activities (prayer, meditation, scripture study), or you can contact them to discuss your spiritual interests. They can also assist you with personal and spiritual growth, provide information on their faith’s beliefs and practices, conduct ceremonies, discuss the meaning or purpose of life, and attend to life passages (like births, marriages, deaths).

See the AuSM website for faith-based and cultural student-led groups.

Reverend Linda T Hope
Co-ordinating Chaplain - Reverend Linda T Hope

Contact details

Phone 921 8899 (City)

Available by appointment or by dropping in to WB114 on Wednesdays or Thursdays during semester.

Outside of these days please contact 921 9235 or 921 9992.


Linda is a Christian Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand. She has been ordained for over 20 years and has worked in parishes, an F1-F7 integrated school, the military (Royal NZ Air Force), the Seafarers’ Centre, and in the community as well as private business. Since 2009, Linda has volunteered at a national level for her Tokelauan ethnic group in Tokelau and Aotearoa-NZ. She has conducted research or facilitated workshops on language preservation and retention, sexual violence prevention, access to palliative care and hospice services, overcoming domestic abuse, and suicide prevention.

amala wrightson buddhist chaplain
Buddhist Chaplain - Sensei Amala Wrightson

Contact details

Phone 550 4383
Meditation practice: Tuesdays 12pm-1pm, and drop-in class with Sensei on Wednesdays 12pm-1pm during semester, in room WB112.

Sensei Amala Wrightson was born and grew up in Auckland, worked in rock bands, and in various theatre projects with her husband Richard von Sturmer. She completed an MA in Italian at the University of Auckland before taking up full time Zen training in 1989 at the Rochester Zen Center in upstate New York. She was ordained a Zen priest in 1999, and sanctioned to teach in 2004, and given Dharma Transmission in 2012 by her teacher Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede.

Christian - Catholic Chaplain – Father Bernie Thomas

Contact details

Phone 303 3852
Follow the Newman Hall Page on Facebook (need to login first)
Newman Hall Map

Mass is celebrated by Bernie every Tuesday and Friday at Newman Hall which is less than 10 minutes walk from AUT.

Available by appointment.

Bernie is based at Newman Hall Chaplaincy office - 16 Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland Central on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and is available during those times for spiritual counselling, reconciliation or even just a chat and coffee.

Bernie is a Roman Catholic Priest, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2002. Bernie received his Bachelor of Theology and Graduate Diploma in Theology from the University of Auckland. Over the last 20 years Bernie has been involved in adult and school student retreat ministry as well as six years in parish ministry (two years in Mangere Bridge and four years in Brisbane). He has also in the past been a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. In 2016 he was asked to take on parish responsibilities of the Catholic Parish on Waiheke Island where he will be living during the year - and commuting each day to his base at Newman Hall for chaplaincy ministry.

Christian Chaplain - Reverend Cate Thorn

Contact details
Phone 021 0227 1048

Available by appointment at North campus on Wednesdays.

Cate (Catherine) is a Priest in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Pacifica and has been ordained for over 12 years. Catherine received a Bachelor of Theology from the University of Auckland, a Post Graduate Diploma in Theology from Otago University and is a Leadership NZ Alumnus. Since ordination Catherine has worked at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell; St John’s Northcote parish; and had oversight of the Glenfield Mission district for a period of time. Prior to ordination Catherine worked in business providing management and accountancy services. She has also worked with people living with mental health challenges and intellectual disability. Catherine is currently involved in community work in the Northcote area. 

Danny Kyu Deug Kim
Christian Chaplain - Reverend Danny Kyu Deug Kim

Contact details:

Phone 021 0815 8687

Danny is available at the City campus on Wednesday between 12 noon and 4pm

Danny was ordained in 1994 in South Korea (Chong Buk [Province] Nohae [Place]) to the Presbyterian Church where he worked first as an Associate Pastor then Senior Pastor. Whilst serving multiple congregations he also instigated a new church. In 2000, Danny came to NZ to study, initially for two years at AUT's North Campus, and from this positive experience made a decision to live in NZ permanently. He has completed a graduate diploma at the University of Waikato and a Master of Social Work at Massey University. Other interests and work experience include mental health and autistic community support. For the past eight years Danny worked at Massey University as a voluntary chaplain where he initiated a programme to distribute free bread, conduct Bible study and prayer groups as well as teach the Korean language for free. Although new to AUT he has already begun a free Korean class and in the near future looks to also distribute free bread to students.

Dr Graeme Sterne
Christian Chaplain - Dr Graeme Sterne

Contact details

Phone 021 0242 3909

City campus on Mondays between 12 noon and 1pm in WB112.
North campus on Thursdays between 2pm and 3.30pm in the main cafeteria.

Dr Graeme Sterne has studied at Waikato, Auckland, Massey and AUT universities. His interest in following Christ grew during his undergraduate study years when he was searching for meaning and purpose. His spiritual journey has included mentoring, study, meditation and ministry. He has worked at World Vision New Zealand and now teaches Communication at AUT. He completed his PhD in Public Relations at AUT in 2012. Graeme is currently City Leader for the International Student Ministry of New Zealand (ISMNZ). His interest in working with people from different nations has grown from experiences in university teaching and meditation on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

International Student Ministry of New Zealand website

Rev jeannie mcelhaney
Interfaith/Interspiritual Chaplain - Reverend Jean McElhaney

Contact details

Phone 473 7344 or 022 192 3202

Available by appointment.

Meditation (Practices to support wellbeing)
North campus on Thursdays between 3.45 and 5pm in Room AP102

Jean is an interfaith minister, ordained by One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in 2008. In 2012, she was initiated as a cheraga into the Sufi Order, which honours all the world's religious traditions. Jean came to New Zealand in 2012 from the United States, where she worked as a licensed clinical social worker and professional counsellor. Long-term interests include contemplative spiritual practices, spiritual activism, nonviolence/peace, conflict transformation, Dances of Universal Peace, and Compassionate Nonviolent Communication. She supports people in connecting with what matters to them, building strong relationships with themselves and others, and exploring spirituality in their lives.

rafat najm muslim
Islamic (Muslim) Chaplain - Sheikh Rafat Najm

Contact details

Phone 021 134 0501 (no answers for text messages)

Available on Mondays by appointment.

Muslim Prayer Room access, opening hours and sessions
The Muslim Prayer Room is located on the City campus in WT012, on Lorne Street.
Open week days and weekends 5am-11pm
Access to WT012 is via a key pad code, available at the WG Reception desk.
Otherwise, you can contact Sheik Rafat Najm.

Jummah Friday Prayers

Summer: Session one at 1.30pm, Session two at 2.00pm, Session three at 2.30pm
Winter: Session one at 12.30pm, Session two at 1.30pm

Sheikh Rafat Najm is a Muslim Scholar who studied Islamic Studies at Al Azhar University, and has a BA in Law and Islamic Law (Cairo - Egypt). He came to New Zealand in 1997 and worked as an Imam of Christchurch Mosque. He is involved in Muslim youth spirituality, and organising camps and trips for Muslim youth. He has been teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies for the previous eight years. Rafat enjoys tramping, volleyball, soccer and reading. He is very pleased to meet with Muslim students, and guide them spiritually. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

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Last updated: 01-Aug-2016 3.20pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.