Great Hearts and Minds

Our mission is to provide Christ-centred, biblically informed professional preparation, development and research

At BTI, we believe that people teach, counsel and relate out of who they are. Because of that, we are interested in the growth of our students, not only towards a professional goal, but towards reaching their God-given potential.

Teacher Education graduates 2021

New Principal for BTI

Mate atu he tētēkura, ara mai anō he tētēkura.  When one plant frond falls away, another plant frond rises to take its place.

A change at the top for Te Whare Tauira o Peterehema/Bethlehem Tertiary Institute (BTI) sets the tone for authentic, collaborative, strengths-based leadership.

A new Principal, Dr James Arkwright, has been appointed to BTI, amidst celebrations and high hopes for the future. The Chair of the Board, Jonny Boom says, “Dr Arkwright brings an astute business approach and a people-focus to his role as BTI’s new chief executive. With a proven background of leadership within tertiary education and a history of facilitating change and growth, James and his team are on track to serve the mission of BTI.”

BTI equips professional leaders from a faith-based perspective and advances research in key people-focused fields. Dr Arkwright’s role will see him and the BTI team continue to deliver outstanding NZQA approved qualifications in the fields of teaching, social work, counselling, leadership, and trauma studies. Convinced that effective work in these roles does not come just from sound knowledge and competent skills, BTI also focuses on students growing towards their God-given potential as people both Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti. The approach is relational and holistic, helping students form their personal and professional identity, as they gain their degrees, becoming ready to make a difference in their communities.

Dr James Arkwright, Te Taiurungi/Principal

Aotearoa’s largest Counselling degree programme is run by Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and this year, with their highest ever number of local and distance students studying all over the country, there is plenty to celebrate!

Celebration is a recurring theme as BTI prepares to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees to a record number of graduates in Teaching, Social Work, Counselling, and Professional Practice Leadership. Whānau and families will come together to honour the achievements at BTI’s Graduation on May 27th. Graduands have studied online as well as coming to Tauranga for onsite blocks to reach their practice standards and are ready to work with tamariki, young people, and adults throughout the country. Celebrating 30 years of this work is a BTI milestone in 2023.

Dr Arkwright now leads this kāhui ako, a community inspired by faith, and committed to student success. It’s a relational, Te Tiriti-informed community where new initiatives in trauma response and addictions recovery are underway to meet the needs of people around Aotearoa. It’s a thriving, holistic environment and probably one reason why graduates are actively sought out by employers, iwi, schools, hospitals, NGOs, and other organisations.

“It’s a privilege to serve the mission and purpose of the institute,” says Dr Arkwright. “Building on our values, we take up this work each day with a sense of gratitude and wonder, as together we address not just workforce needs, but also wellbeing needs of people across the nation.”

A whakataukī to describe Dr Arkwright is captured in these words “He manawa tītī” A person with great endurance. This whakataukī is often used to honour a person serving in their local community that has contributed greatly.

BTI is a distance as well as onsite degree-level provider, with part-time and full-time study options so courses are compatible with the ways people live and work.

Programmes of study

At Bethlehem Tertiary Institute we offer both undergraduate and postgraduate study pathways. You can choose to prepare for employment with our NZ Certificate, study Teaching, Counselling, Social Work, or further your learning with Postgraduate Study in responding to trauma or leadership.

Social Work and Counselling

If you seek a career where you can journey with others and advocate for them, then our social work and counselling programmes are for you. You will dive deep into your own experiences of life, be equipped with tools and frameworks to help others, engage biculturally, and have significant hands-on experience to prepare you for your profession.

NZ Certificate in Study and Employment Pathways

If you’re interested in studying but are worried about whether or not you’ve got what it takes to be a successful student, we’ve got what you need. The NZ Certificate in Study and Employment Pathways exists to equip students with increased knowledge, skills and confidence in their ability to succeed academically.

Teacher Education

We know that the first 1,000 days in the lives of our tamariki are the most important. So if you have a big heart for shaping children’s minds, a dream for getting the best out of young learners, a commitment to being gracious, secure and teachable, an awareness of Jesus as the Master Teacher, then you should study early childhood, primary or secondary education at BTI.


If you’re already working but want to better integrate your faith with your profession, then our postgraduate programmes allow you to do just that. You’ll learn from top research active staff, engage with other students across Aotearoa New Zealand, and have your eyes opened to new and exciting ways to think about your values and how they inform your profession.

Want to make a difference to individuals, whanau and communities in your career?


Join our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates about BTI

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.