Chaplains at AUT University

The team of faith 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. 

amala wrightson buddhist chaplainBuddhist - Sensei Amala Wrightson

Contact details

Phone +64 9 550 4383 or 027 314 9440
Email amala@aucklandzen.org.nz
Website www.aucklandzen.org.nz

Available by appointment during the semester, mainly Wednesdays in room WB234.

Meditation practice: Tuesdays 12pm-1pm, and drop-in class with Sensei on Wednesdays 12pm-1pm during semester, in room WB235.

Biography
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.

Bernie-Thomas-2013-5Christian - Catholic – Father Bernie Thomas

Contact details

Phone +64 9 303 3852
Email bernie@actc.org.nz

Available by appointment.

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

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

Please feel free to call in to the chaplaincy building, where many other students gather for fellowship, study and prayer. There is a lounge/kitchen; chapel and student study space as well as Bernie and three other young people who work also as chaplains at AUT, UoA, Unitec and Massey.

Biography
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 Auckland University. Over the last 20 years Bernie has been involved in adult and school student retreat ministry as well as 6 years in parish ministry (2 years in Mangere Bridge and 4 years in Brisbane). He has also in the past been a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. This year he has also been 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.

Reverend Linda T HopeChristian Chaplain- Reverend Linda T Hope

Contact details

Phone +64 9 9218899 (City) or 64 9 921 9999 (South)
Email linda.hope@aut.ac.nz

Available by appointment or by dropping in to WB234 on Wednesdays or Thursdays during semester.
Outside of these days please contact the Health, Counselling and Wellbeing reception desk ph 921.9992.

Biography

Linda is a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand. She has been ordained for over 20 years and worked in: parishes, a 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 voluntarily worked 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.

Dr Graeme SterneChristian (Assistant Chaplain) – Dr Graeme Sterne

Contact details

Phone 021 0242 3909
Email graeme.sterne@aut.ac.nz

Available Mondays (City and North Campus) and Tuesdays 12pm-4pm (South Campus).

Biography
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 University. He completed his PhD in Public Relations at AUT in 2012. He is currently City Leader for ISMNZ (International Student Ministry). 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 website

Chaplain Jean McElhaneyInterfaith - Jean McElhaney

Contact details

Phone +64 9 473 7344 or 022 192 3202
Email jean.mcelhaney@gmail.com

Available by appointment.

Biography
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.  She 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) - Sheikh Rafat Najm

Contact details

Phone 021 134 0501 (no answers for text messages)
Email r_najm@hotmail.com

Available by appointment on Tuesdays mainly in WB234, or elsewhere at other times.

Jummah (Friday Prayers): Conducted by Sheikh; during Summer - session one at 1.30pm and session two at 2.30pm; during Winter - session one at 12.30pm and session two at 1.30pm; in room WW102, City Campus.

Biography
Sheikh Rafat Najm is a Muslim Scholar who studied Islamic Studies at Al Azhar University, and has a BA in Law and Islamic Law (LLB.) 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 keen and will be very pleased to meet with Muslim students, and guide them spiritually. He is fluent in Arabic and English.

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Last updated: 26-May-2015 1.34pm

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