As the koru grows, a new beginning takes shape;
its foundations in faith, tētēkura spirals,
moving forwards and back.
Mate atu he tētēkura, whakaete mai he tētēkura
When one fern frond dies, another
pushes through in its place -
our past, our present, our future.
An unbroken line of God’s faithfulness
connecting us and drawing us into the story.
not yet complete.
Message from the Principal
When the NZ Bible Training Institute was founded in 1922, the driving desire was to see people steeped in Scripture, and engaged in the work of the Gospel everywhere. A century later, we too seek to hold strongly and wisely to the evangelical faith – taking seriously our commitment to the Bible, and counting the cost of working this out in faithful renewal in all kinds of spheres and callings.
Share your stories
Read stories from past students, and let us know if you want to share yours!
After weeks of prayer, a meeting of the provisional Board on 18 July 1921 resolves to establish a New Zealand Bible Training Institute (NZBTI). Rev. Joseph W. Kemp becomes the Principal, and Dr Charles J. Rolls, the Superintendent.
"Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
The 1920s saw the establishment of the NZ Bible Training Institute, with classes beginning on 1 March 1922. Continued growth of student numbers led to the construction of a two-storey building in Queen Street next to the Baptist Tabernacle, opening in August 1927.
The 1930s marked a change in leadership with the death of Joseph Kemp in 1933. Mr J. O. Sanders took on administrative responsibilities as Superintendent, and Mr Henry Yolland, the Dean and senior Bible lecturer, led the teaching programme.
The number of male students diminished rapidly in the War years. By 1943 only two men were enrolled, alongside 16 women. By the end of WWII, 108 students had served in the Armed Forces. With an eye to future expansion post-war, the Institute purchased the nearby Music Academy Building, and a printing and publishing company – renaming it The Institute Press.
The 1950s saw a greater engagement with the NZ Christian public, with Principal John Deane publishing his Bedside Series of devotional booklets, and introducing “The Editor’s Bible Class Notes” in The Reaper. Deane and other staff were involved in continuous Convention ministries.
The new campus opened in 1961 to great public interest, with over 6,000 turning up for the opening ceremony. Two months later, Rev. Allan Burrow commenced as Principal and brought rapid change.
The 1970s saw continued growth in both the number and demographic of students, and expanding facilities to accommodate them. More family flats, staff flats, a two-storey accommodation block (East Wing), and a new library were built. Additional faculty were added to the teaching team, all with theological training.
Branch colleges in Nelson and Manawatu were opened in 1980, and an Extension Studies Department was established to facilitate the running of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) programmes around New Zealand.
The appointment of National Principal, Dr John Hitchen, in 1990 heralded a period of significant developments within the College. BCNZ became the first Private Training Establishment to register with the new NZ Qualifications Authority, allowing the offering of our own degrees and access to student loans and allowances.
The 2000s were years of transition for the College. A new purpose-built campus in Christchurch opened. The sudden death of Brian Hathaway in 2003 saw Dean of Studies Hudson Deane assume the role of Principal in his 39th and final year at the College.
In September 2010, Dr Rod Thompson was appointed National Principal and led the College into its next phase of strengthening and growth. The Bachelor of Counselling degree was offered in Christchurch from 2012, and a small Manukau campus established in 2014.
Campus life and study changed dramatically with the arrival of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Students and staff moved on-line to work and study for large periods of time in 2020 and 2021.