Trinity Methodist Theological College

Our Heritage

A Brief History of Trinity College

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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 (see above picture).  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.