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The Beginning

The vision was to equip men and women to renew
Aotearoa and the world in light of the Gospel.



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.

5 men 5 women

After praying, dreaming, and planning together, Rev. Joseph Kemp and friends founded NZBTI and the first ten students gathered to learn and be equipped for Christian service in New Zealand and abroad.



Thousands of women and men have contributed to the life and mission of this College through prayer, faithful service and generous giving.

Robert Laidlaw (1885-1971), one of our founders and President of the College for twenty years, is one of these people.

Robert Laidlaw was an outstanding businessman, philanthropist and influential Christian leader. Founder of the Farmers department stores, his faith underpinned his vocation in business. He had wide-ranging influence in churches and communities across Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world. His life story exemplifies what we hope for all our graduates: a deep commitment to the Gospel, an intelligent and integrated faith grounded in the Bible, and lifelong engagement with the task of renewing the world.

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How is Laidlaw College equipping leaders for Church and Society today? Click here to find out more
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