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.
Buddhist - Sensei Amala WrightsonContact details
Phone +64 9 550 4383 or 027 314 9440
Available by appointment during the semester, mainly Wednesdays in room WB234.
Meditation practice: Tuesdays 12-1pm, and drop-in class with Sensei on Wednesdays 12pm-1pm during semester, in room WB235.
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 – Father Bernie ThomasContact details
Phone +64 9 303 3852
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.
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.
Christian (Assistant Chaplain) – Dr Graeme SterneContact details
Phone 021 0242 3909
Available during the semester, Mondays (City and North Shore Campus); Wednesdays (South Campus) and Thursdays (City Campus) in WG by appointment. Mondays 12 noon until 1pm - WG 607.
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
Interfaith - Jean McElhaneyContact details
Phone 64 9 473 7344 or 022 192 3202
Available by appointment.
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.
Islamic (Muslim) - Sheikh Rafat NajmContact details
Phone 021 134 0501 (no answers for text messages)
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.
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.
Last updated: 16-Feb-2015 3.07pm
The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.