Student Support

Laidlaw’s Student Support is part of the Centre for Learning (CFL) team. The Student Support team works closely with the Library and with Student Services to ensure that students are well supported in their Laidlaw journey from admission to graduation. Student Support provides academic and pastoral support for all students in all modes of learning that Laidlaw offers. Our main goal is to help students succeed in their studies. If you need help with an assignment, essay writing, referencing, time management, exam preparation or study effectively, then we are able to assist. Along with academic support, we provide pastoral support and IT support.

Please feel free to drop in to meet any of our Support Staff at any time on your campus. For Distance Learning Students, this can be a “virtual” drop in by email or through Teams Chat. If there is no support staff available when you drop in, you can make an appointment to meet with one of the team at a time that suits you both.

Here is our support team. Feel free to approach any of them ….

All Campuses 


We encourage you to utilise the pastoral support structures of your own church. However, you are very welcome to talk through any personal matters with our Student Dean, Jenny Mackie. She is also able to assist you to access other avenues of support, both here at Laidlaw and with other agencies. Jenny can be contacted at [email protected] or on 09 836 7806. Her office is located at the top of the stairs in the main building.


We have staff members specifically tasked with assisting students who have a physical or learning disability and who may need practical or academic support. Fiona Sherwin is here to both offer support and connect students with those who can give additional support.

She can be contacted at [email protected] or
09 836 7878.


Gina Siaosi is Samoan and was born and raised in South Auckland. She has a DipBS and BMin from Laidlaw College. Past ministry experience has mostly been in Pastoral Ministry & Missions. She is currently the Senior Minister of Upper Room Ministries and the Founding President of the South Pacific Women’s Christian Association. Gina can be reached by email at [email protected] or on  09 837 9745.


Sharon Pihema was born in Auckland with a close connection to her father’s whānau in the Far North - Ngāti Kahu te iwi.  Her mother is from Ngāi Tahu in the South Island, including Scottish, English and German tūpuna.

Coupled with a passion for serving and a strong desire for learning she took a leap of faith - out of the corporate insurance world and into full-time study at Laidlaw College graduating with a Bachelor of Counselling.  She has worked in counselling roles at Howick College, The Parenting Place, Excel School of Performing Arts and has held previous roles at Laidlaw - Group Facilitator and Video Conference Tutor.  Her current role is to provide academic and pastoral support for Māori students – working with them in achieving their academic goals along with a more expansive vision for generational transformation for their whānau, iwi and communities.

“Whāia e koe te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei.”

(This whakatauki challenges us to pursue our dreams and goals. It asks us to persevere through adversity and only bow our heads if the obstacle is truly great.)

You can contact her by email [email protected] or phone 09 8379781.


Aidan Quayle is an Information Technology Assistant at Laidlaw College. He is onsite at the Henderson Campus on a part-time basis, and is available on Tuesdays and Fridays providing support to all students and staff alike, including distance learning students via phone or email ([email protected]).



Fiona Sherwin is a graduate of Laidlaw College and loves the Laidlaw community. Her vocational background has been in disability support and Youth Work with the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Fiona is responsible for all the undergraduate students on the Henderson Campus. Academic life can, at times, be stressful, so Fiona’s role is to support students in finding ways forward to reach their goal to graduate at the end of their programme. Alongside her responsibility to lead the Student support team across the country, and in supporting students with disabilities, she is the programme advisor for Theology undergraduate students for the Henderson and Manukau students. If you are doing a Diploma, Degree or a Graduate Certificate or Diploma, Fiona will help you work out which papers fit best to meet the goals of heading into the vocation God has called you to beyond Laidlaw. She can be contacted at [email protected] or on 09 836 7878. The student support office is located at the far end of the ground floor of the library.

Sharon Cartwright is a Student Support Advisor for Laidlaw’s partner students studying theology via distance learning. Her focus is on supporting the success of ministry internship students studying towards a certificate or diploma in theology. She provides a friendly ear and encouragement to assist students balance academic commitments.

Outside of Laidlaw, Sharon is part of a leadership team at her local church. She immigrated to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2003 after marrying. While she misses family, she has made New Zealand her home and loves the outdoor lifestyle - walking in the Waitakere bush or relaxing at the beach. One of her passions is animals and her most recent pet is a greyhound-cross dog named Beady.  


At the Manukau campus, we are all about kaiawhina (which means ‘to come alongside’). Tertiary study can be challenging, especially if you are fresh out of school or coming back to study after a long period. Laidlaw College provides all the student support you may need, including help with study skills, pastoral concerns and disability support. 


There will be one of the student support team members available between Mondays and Thursdays to be able to answer any of your study related questions and to help you with your essays. If there is not a team member available at Manukau, then please contact Fiona Sherwin at the Henderson Campus, and she will arrange someone to connect with you over a zoom chat: [email protected]



Gill Pawson is the Campus Administrator for Laidlaw Christchurch. You will find her on the front desk on the Christchurch Campus. Her role is split between ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the campus, planning & hosting events, as well as attending to the needs of the Christchurchstaff & students. This relational role has an emphasis on student pastoral care. Gill is a trained volunteer with Victim Support and helps to empower people to gain control & direction of their own lives after any ‘event’ that has derailed them. With her wealth of experience, Gill is excellent at being a listening ear and assists in connecting people to the right resources. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 0210710910. 


Rowena Stevenson is the Academic Support Advisor at the Christchurch Campus.  Born in Whangarei, marrying as a student in Palmerston North and then growing a family in the Wairarapa, Tairawhiti and Bay of Plenty, Rowena began a diploma with BCNZ while living in Tauranga.  After a move to Christchurch in 2008 she completed her Bachelor of Theology.  She has been supporting Christchurch students in their academic studies since 2012. A few years ago, she added library assistant to her Laidlaw role, so you can find her most days in the Christchurch Campus library office.  In her student support role she loves seeing students make breakthroughs in their study. Whether it is the challenge of understanding the assignment task, planning how to make study life fit with the rest of life’s demands, finding useful resources, or figuring out just where to put all those full stops and commas in a citation, Rowena loves being part of helping students develop their confidence and capabilities during their time at Laidlaw. She can be contacted at [email protected].  

Distance Learning


Phil Cope is the Student Support Adviser for Flexible and Distance Learning Students.

Based on the Henderson campus, Phil is the first port of call for academic support for students studying via Distance Learning. Assisting students in planning their studies, monitoring their academic progress, and providing help with assignments and study skills; Phil is ready to help students achieve their academic goals at the click of a mouse or dialling of a phone. He graduated with a BTheol in 2012 so he knows his stuff. He’s a massive nerd, perfect for Fantasy, Sci-fi and/or Lego categories on Trivia nights! And with two toddlers, he’s perfected the arts of swaddling and late night nappy changes. He can be contacted on 09 836 7815 or [email protected].