The National Governing Council (NGC) is the governing body of Laidlaw College. It is comprised of people committed to the Vision, Mission and Values of Laidlaw, appointed for their stature as professionals and leading persons in the fields for which Laidlaw is equipping students. The National Principal/CEO attends NGC meetings, without the power to vote. The NGC also includes a staff and a student representative, both of whom have the power to vote.

The NGC sets the vision of Laidlaw, guards its ethos, makes recommendations on the policies of the College, and appoints the National Principal. It meets at least five times a year.

The NGC ensures its accountability by reporting to and consulting with the Members of Laidlaw College Inc. and the Runanga (Maori Council), and by working alongside other governance bodies, including the Academic Advisory Board, and in partnership with the Laidlaw College Foundation, a separate charitable trust that manages the College's endowment.

The Rūnanga (Maori Council), is comprised of Maori community leaders. The Rūnanga advises the College at a governance, management and practical level on servicing Maori training needs and incorporating Maori awareness in Laidlaw life that affirms the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi for the College.

National Governing Council Members

Chris Collins (Chair)

Prof Jessica Palmer (Deputy Chair)
BCom/LLB(Hons) Auckland, LLM Cambridge, LLM Auckland, MInstD

Jessica is Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Humanities, at the University of Otago, and brings strong governance and strategic leadership experience to Laidlaw. Jessica also sits on the boards of Presbyterian Support Otago and the Wilberforce Foundation. Her research interests lie in equity and trusts, the law of restitution and the law of contract. Jessica and her family attend a Presbyterian church in Dunedin.  

Dr Roshan Allpress (National Principal/CEO)
BA(Hons) Canterbury, DPhil Oxford, MInstD

Roshan has been National Principal/CEO of Laidlaw College since 2017. An historian, whose research focuses on the history of philanthropy, humanitarianism and social reform, he has a background in non-profit leadership. Roshan and his family live in Henderson. [more]

Miriam Fisher

Miriam is the staff representative on the Laidlaw. She has been studying with Laidlaw for some time but joined us on staff in 2019 as the inaugural staff member in Christchurch for our Teaching programme. She lectures into Inclusive Education and The Arts.  Miriam is currently working on her Master of Theology, with Laidlaw. [more]

Bradford Haami (Rūnanga Representative, Co-Chair Te Rūnanga)

Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Apa, Kai Tahu; GradDipTh Laidlaw

An accomplished author, journalist and lecturer, Brad has written award-winning Māori biographies, has extensive experience in film and media, and has worked as Māori curator for the Natural History exhibition at Te Papa. Brad is widely involved in Māori Christian leadership networks and attends an AOG church. In 2020, Brad commenced fulltime work at Laidlaw as Pou Amorangi/Māori Director. [more]

Chris Hannen

BMin MTh Laidlaw, BCom Canterbury

Chris is the CEO of The Christian Schools Trust in Christchurch, a proprietor trust for four State integrated Christian schools and two Christian early learning centres.  He has previously worked as a Chartered Accountant, a Regional Manager for World Vison New Zealand and he was Campus Director for the Laidlaw College Christchurch campus for eight years.  He is married to Belinda and they have three adult children. He has been part of his local fellowship, Life Church, for over 30 years.

Ps Lui Ponifasio, QSM
BMin Laidlaw

Lui is Senior Pastor of LifeChurch, in Manurewa, and is the Auckland Missions Enabler for CCCNZ (Open Brethren) and pioneer of the Pacific2Nations global missions movement. Lui founded Radio Samoa and the Samoa Times newspaper, and has served in numerous board and advisory capacities.

Ps Dr Matthew Scott
BA(Hons) Victoria, PhD Durham

Matthew is Lead Pastor of Lifepoint Church (Assemblies of God) in Wellington. He has previously served as Pastor at Dunedin City Baptist Church and National Director of Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship, and has a background in Communications and Biblical scholarship.

Thomas Scrimgeour

Thomas is the student representative on the Laidlaw NGC in 2023. He is currently in his final year of the Bachelor of Theology. When not studying, Thomas works part time as a gardener and fellowships at Lincoln Road Bible Chapel.

Joshua Taylor

Joshua is an Anglican Priest from the Diocese of Christchurch. He is currently working on a PhD in theology through the University of Otago. He has experience in youth ministry and several years as a Vicar in Timaru. Joshua is also a qualified spiritual director through Spiritual Growth Ministries NZ. He is particularly interested in the areas of systematic theology, practical theology, and spiritual formation for leadership. This interest was sparked during his time as a student at Laidlaw College in Christchurch from 2007-2009. 

Monica Whitehead

Monica is an alumni-student of Laidlaw, having studied a Bachelor of Ministries. She has previously served as a student voice on the NGC, as well as our Campus Design Team. Monica’s background is in adventure tourism and in worship and youth ministries. She currently runs a Boutique Mānuka Honey business called ‘Taste & See’ with her husband Levi.

Shona Pink-Martin (Student Representative)

Suzie Olive (Student Representative)

Te Rūnanga o Te Wānanga Amorangi

  • Brad Haami (Co-Chair)
  • Warahi Paki (Co-Chair)
  • Shona Martin-Pink (Co-Chair) 
  • Seth Barratt
  • Cilena Farnham (Student Rep)
  • Linda Paki
  • Sharon Pihema
  • Lorraine Taogaga

Academic Advisory Board

Laidlaw's Academic Advisory Board comprises senior scholars from universities and other higher education providers, and oversees academic quality at the College. It is currently chaired by:

Prof Murray Rae
BArch Auckland, BD Otago, BA Otago, PhD London

Murray is Professor of Theology at the University of Otago, and is a highly regarded scholar and academic leader, with research interests in the work of Søren Kierkegaard, Theology and Architecture, Christian Pacifism, Biblical Hermeneutics, Christian Doctrine, and the development of Christian faith amongst Maori.

President of Incorporated Society

Chair, Laidlaw College Foundation

Graham Burt

Grahan served as Chair of Laidlaw College for fifteen years until 2020, and remains the Chair of Laidlaw College Foundation and President of the National Conference. With a diverse background in advertising and all manner of creative endeavours, Graham is currently CEO of Festival One.

If you would like to see who the members of Laidlaw College’s other advisory boards and committees are, please feel free to read our latest annual report.

Annual Report

This document demonstrates the full breadth of Laidlaw College's activities and features statements from those in leadership; reports from each school and centre; profiles of students and alumni; and of course, financial reports. It is a great read for those who wish to familiarise themselves on the College and our various activities.

If you would like to read the report, you can either download or view this by clicking the link below.

Click here to download the 2023 Annual Report


Laidlaw College is registered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority pursuant to the 1990 Education Act and its amendments, and is accredited to teach its programmes as approved by the Authority. Laidlaw College is accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to teach at postgraduate and undergraduate degree level. Doctoral programmes are offered under the auspices of partnership arrangements with New Zealand universities or as an affiliated College of the Australian College of Theology.

Laidlaw College was previously known as the New Zealand Bible Training Institute (NZBTI) from 1922–1971 and as Bible College of New Zealand (BCNZ) from 1971–2008. Academic awards bearing the stamp of the former names of Laidlaw College are recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority pursuant to the 1990 Education Act. The New Zealand Ministry of Education Provider Code for Laidlaw College is 08563.

Details of accreditation of awards of Laidlaw College programmes can be found at the following New Zealand government website: