Key facts about Trinity

Our mission and vision

Our mission is to prepare people for faith-based leadership.

This is achieved through our vision statement, which is to be an exemplar to the church and society of:

• bicultural relationship

• quality under-graduate education through best practice blended learning

• graduates prepared for global awareness and community engaged leadership within the Pacific Region

• curriculum provision that clearly addresses cultural and linguistic diversity

• innovative delivery methods to dispersed communities

• on-going educational opportunities and professional development for laity and clergy.

Our promise and our welcome

Trinity's promise, from the Principal, David Bell.

We are a community of presbyter-scholars and support staff, who are committed to the Methodist ethos. We will provide for you the best educational opportunities that we can, from the resources that we have.

Our courses and papers are for all people interested in theological reflection and who are passionate about the practice of ministry in contemporary society.

Full-time ministry students will find Trinity College a stimulating environment. Tuition is in small, lively classes and parish placements. There is a strong emphasis on developing both creative thinking and rigorous theological reflection.

Part-time and private students can choose single papers.

There are many options to explore.

Welcome, from the Chair of Trinity College Council, Max Thomson.

To all students and prospective students...

We hope this website will be helpful to you as you work with representatives of the College to sort out your study for the year.

You will come from varying backgrounds with different academic and/or practical qualifications; and the study opportunities available are designed to enable you to select courses that suit you as you work towards ministry in the Methodist Church.

The courses available also provide opportunities for those who wish to strengthen their lay leadership skills.

Enjoy your time at Trinity—it will be well worth your while.


Our staff

Rev Dr David Bell

College Manager
Nicola Grundy

College Chaplain
Rev Misilei Misilei


Biblical Studies
Rev Dr Nasili Vaka'uta

Church History
Rev Dr Susan Thompson

Effective Leadership
Rev Andrew Gammon

Fijian Lay Preachers
Rev Dr Sevati Tuwere

Lead Worship
Kalo Kaisa
Mary Nicholas
Peter williamson

Maori Studies
Rev Diana Tana
Te Aroha Rountree

Methodist Studies
Rev Dr David Bell

Practical Theology
Rev Dr Lynne Frith
Rev Prince Devanandan
Rev John Murrray

Professional Studies
Rev Val Nicholls

Samoan Lay Preachers
Rev Faleatua Faleatua

Rev Dr Mary Caygill
Andrea Williamson

Systematic theology
Dr Rohan Bandara
Dr Robert Myles
Rev Peter Williamson

Tongan Lay Preachers
Rev Siosifa Pole
Rev Goll Manukia
Rev Alipate 'Uhila

Plus our colleagues in the Anglican Faculty of the College of St John the Evangelist

Trinity's educational aims

The educational aims of Trinity College are to:

  • provide educational opportunities relevant to the needs of individual students
  • provide educational opportunities relevant to the needs of the Methodist Church of New Zealand
  • prepare people for ministry, both lay and ordained
  • relate education in the formal disciplines of Theology to the practice of ministry, through processes of ministry formation and theological reflection.

Trinity College is an NZQA registered provider, with a level 1 ranking.

Trinity's graduate profile


It is envisaged that by the end of your training you will fit our graduate profile which is:

• a strong sense of personal identity
• a strong biblical/theological grounding
• a developed and mature Christian faith
• an ability to engage cross-culturally
• an ability to be socially and politically aware
• effective people skills
• practical church management skills
• servant leadership skills
• a commitment to life-long learning
• an ability to be a forward thinker
• an understanding of the distinctive nature and ethos of Methodism.

Click for image gallery


Trinity's heritage

A Brief History of Trinity College

Trinity Methodist Theological College had its beginnings in the early nineteenth century.  New Zealand Methodism’s first theological College emerged from the work of the Wesleyan Maori Mission.  The Wesleyan Native Institution opened in Grafton, Auckland in 1845 to train Maori students for work as teachers and ministers among their own people.

The college left the Grafton site in 1849. Theological education took place at Three Kings from the 1870s, Prince Albert College from the 1890s and Dunholme College from 1912.  In 1929, ministry training returned to Grafton to be based in the newly-built Trinity College.  For the next half-century, Trinity College was a centre of Methodist educational activity and a focus of Methodist identity.  This was a period of significant growth and consolidation.

In the early 1970s, the College moved into partnership with the Anglican College at St John’s in Meadowbank.  While not without its challenges, the ecumenical venture exposed Methodist students to a wider range of religious traditions and has contributed to a greater understanding between the two denominations.

Further changes to ministry education occurred in the 1990s and 2000s.  There was an increasing desire to develop an approach that emphasized practical theology; and in addition the academic side of training was strengthened by participation in the University of Auckland’s School of Theology. 

While training emphases have changed and developed, Trinity College has sought to balance a focus on practical ministry training on the one hand and academic theological scholarship on the other.

In November 2008 Conference disestablished the Board of Ministry and re-established the Trinity College Council as its governing body.


Your commitment


Are you open to personal transformation?

To know if Trinity is really the right place for you to develop your full potential in ministry cannot necessarily be seen from the outset. Learning to ask the right questions, however, about which kind of theological training is very useful. Ask yourself:

  • Am I committed to the Way?
  • Is my heart open to being in a learning community which nurtures discipleship?
  • Is my mind open to exploring all the riches of the theological traditions?

Whether lay or ordained, full-time or part-time, private student or ministry candidate, you will find Trinity College gives you the greatest benefit when you make your personal commitment to its unique learning environment.


  • Programmes
  • Trinity College & Wellspring
  • News from Trinity College Council
  • Professional Development
  • Browse for courses

Diploma in Practical Theology DipPTh

Trinity College is an accredited Category One Private Education Provider.

The DipPTh comprises 240 credits, is NZQA level 6, with a standard of EILTS 6.5 required for admission. Structured as a two year, full-time programme, DipPTh students may expect to be involved for 2400 hours of study, ministry practice and theological reflection. The method of assessment is through presentation of portfolio work involving a variety of essays, book reviews, critiqued presentations, and online learning assessments. Cross crediting and recognition of prior learning credits are available for students with a theological degree in the core disciplines. Note that this is a terminating programme under the NZQA Targeted Review of Qualifications

After graduation, Methodist ordination students are additionally required to complete further portfolio work during the two year probationers' professional development programme.

The DipPTh and the probationers' programme constitute the ministry formation required by Methodist Church in its processes and criteria for ordination.

Licentiate in Ministry Studies LiMS

LiMS is a church approved part-time study course equivalent to a one year full-time study qualification at level 5-6, offered by Trinity College.

It is not an NZQA course, and is thus not eligible for government assisted TEC funding, i.e. Studylink.

To earn the LiMS you need a total of 145 credits earned from units in topics or in transfers from the DipPTh. Students can apply for recognition of prior learning. All students are expected to enter into a spiritual formation programme.

Ministry Discernment Programme

Ministry discernment is integral to understanding the calling to diaconal and presbyteral ministries with the Church. The programme is run alongside the Mission Resourcing candidating process. To initiate the candidating process you will need to be enrolled in the Minstry Discernment programme. Prospective candidates may also want to download the Fact Sheet on Ministry Discernment for Parishes and Superintendents noted below.

Open Badges

Trinity College issues badges upon successful completion of certificates, intensives, metacourses, papers, and workshops.

The badges can be exported to Mozilla Back Pack. The badge will contain metadata about the credit value of the copurse and its chief aims and objectives.

Badges contain no information about course grades. For further information about badges contact

Certificates, Intensives and Workshops

These are found within the LiMS handbook. Laity are especially encouraged to consider these.

Using DipPTh and LiMS for Professional Development

All DipPTh and LiMS papers are available to ordained ministers for professional development studies. You are encouraged to enrol in these to experience the blended learning opportunities within the tcol online learning community. Contact the Principal to discuss options.

Handbooks and timetables

2015 LiMS and DipPTh Student Handbook - course information

Fact Sheet on Ministry Discernment for Parishes and Superintendents



MapsTrinity College

202 St John's Road, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072

++ 64-9-521 2073

Postal Address
PO Box 89124
Auckland 0742


Partnership with St John's College

Trinity College moved into partnership with the Anglican College of St John the Evangelist in the early 1970s. The Principal of Trinity College and the Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies are loacted here. Many block courses and short courses are taught at this partnership site.

Staff at Trinity/St John's Colleges

Principal: Rev Dr David Bell

Ranston Lecturer in Biblical Studies: Rev Dr Nasili Vaka'uta


874 Beach Road, Torbay, Auckland

++ 64-9-521 2073

Postal Address
PO Box 89124
Auckland 0742


Wellspring-at-Waiake is Trinity College's Centre for Spirituality and Professional Development. It is also the administration centre for Trinity Methodist Theological College.

Staff at Wellspring

College Manager: Nicola Grundy

College Chapalin: Rev Elizabeth Hopner

Tutor in Professional Development: Rev Val Nicholls

Partnership with Trinity-at-Waiake Methodist Church and other churches

Some specialist block courses are taught at Trinity-at-Waiake Methodist Church, along with intensives and workshops. Trinity College is committed to lay education available to all Methodist communities through its innovative LiMS programme using video-conferencing and 24/7 online classrooms.


Alumni Association and Friends of Trinity College: 2014 annual dinners
The Alumni Association annual dinner is in Auckland July 4 and Wellington lunch August 8. Contact for further details
Tertiary Education Commission - Trinity College Investment Plan 2010-13
Strategic Plan 2012-18 from Trinity College Council

Trinity College Council Strategic Plan

Download 2013-2018 Strategic Plan


ARDET December 2014 Issue of the Trinity College Magazine and all back issues

Download 2014 December-January Ardet edition 44

Download 2014 September edition 43 Ardet

Download Trinity College July-August Synods News, Trends, Updates

Download July-August 2014 Ardet edition 42 (2.1 Mb)

Download May-June 2014 Ardet edition 41 (0.8 Mb)

Download April 2014 Ardet edition 40 (1.14 Mb)

Download March 2014 Ardet edition 39 (1.0 Mb)

Download January 2014 Ardet edition 38 (0.95 Mb)

Download November Ardet (3.0 Mb)

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Download July 2013 Ardet (1.98 Mb)

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Download August/September 2012 Ardet (1.25 Mb)

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Download April 2012 Ardet (3.6 Mb)

Download March 2012 Ardet 22 Interactive (10.2 Mb)

Download March 2012 Ardet 22 PDF (1.5 Mb)

Download November Ardet 2011 (1.2 Mb)

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Trinity College is a Level One Tertiary Education Provider - NZQA External Evaluation and report 2011



Trinity College and Professional Development

John Wesley at Tekapo!

Lifelong learning development

Trinity College encourages life-long learning for all Christian leaders. Professional development is expected of clergy in particular. It's all about taking the long view. Methodist ministers are required by Conference to gain one Diploma paper every two years, or its equivalent through other institutions such as EIDTS, or the Universities of Otago or Auckland.

Trinity College offers flexible ways of achieving professional development goals for individuals. Intensives, seminars and special events are planned into the Trinity Calender each semester and these can be incorporated into a professional development learning covenant.

With some intensives there are credits to Trinity College 'stand-alone certificates' and others into Diploma courses. Correct enrolment and prior reading are required for credit.

Trinity College staff often participate in Synod Schools-of-Theology. Credits to 'stand-alone' certificates can be arranged with the College by Synods. Please contact us for further information. You can apply for study grant assistance. Note that not all appplications will be successful and that correspondence is not entered into by the Travel and Study Committee.

Download Study & Travel Assistance Grants form

DipPTh to MMin to DMin

The Diploma in Practical Theology offers a framework for professional development for clergy who want to add a new dimension to their ministry practice. After completing the DipPTh candidates embark upon a two year probationer programme which may lead to ordination. Then the University of Otago offers a Master of Ministry, MMin, which takes Trinity College graduates to the next level of professional development. The Trinity College probation years provide a fertile ground for thinking about and preparing for that vital next stage of professional development. Trinity College tutors play a formative part in this preparation. Later on, candidates may undertake the Doctor of Ministry programme.

The Presbyter-Scholar Programme

Trinity College tutors are in the presbyter-scholar programme. The tutors are experienced presbyters in a variety of church appointments who are willing to contribute their gifts of learning to Trinity College through various papers, training events, and other courses. Trinity tutors also serve on the Curricuum Review Panel, along with the major stakeholders in Trinity College. The Panel arranges tutor training, external moderation, and provides a vehicle for publication through AIM & Methodist Publishing.

The scholar-presbyter programme has allowed Trinity to become a learning community where the bicultural partnership can be more fully expressed, along with full participation of Sinoti Samoa and Vahefonua Tonga o Aotearoa.

The Ready Parishes Programme

Trinity College has begun a process to to identify and build strategic relationships with key parishes around the Connexion to enable it to function as an effective blended-learning distance education provider. These are called ‘ready parishes’. Ready parishes also include those whose presbyters are among the tutors of Trinity College.


Course enrolments: contact

2015 course options will be available for online registration beginning 3 November 2014.

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You enter your classrooms through the above link. If you haven't registered for courses you will not be able to enter.

Useful links

College of St John the Evangelist

Ethical standards for ministry

Evaluation of worship leading and preaching

John Kinder Library


Methodist Church of New Zealand

Wesley College