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Ecumenical Chaplains

Olivia Dawson 2021 imageRev. Olivia Dawson

Ecumenical chaplain based at the Dunedin Campus of the University


My name is Olivia Dawson and I have been one of the Campus Chaplains since July 2018. As a chaplain I am committed to caring for the students, staff, and other associates to the University.

If I have the privilege of meeting you I promise to respect your faith and culture, show compassion, hear your concerns and questions, and provide a nonjudgmental and confidential space for you to express whatever you are feeling or thinking.

I am available to be an emotional and spiritual resource to you and am happy to connect you with others as you seek community during your time at University.

I was ordained as a Baptist Minister in 2010 and I have my Masters of Divinity and Masters of Science in Patient Counseling. I have served in parish ministry and hospital chaplaincy. My family and I moved from the States at the end of 2017 back to Dunedin where my kiwi husband and I met as students at the University in 2005. I have three beautiful children, Micah, Lyla, and Nora.

Mike Summerfield 2021 imageMike Summerfield

Ecumenical chaplain based at the Dunedin Campus of the University


Tēnā koutou katoa, ko Mike tōku ingoa.

I am part of the chaplaincy team based at the Dunedin campus, and as a chaplain, I am here to provide support and guidance to all students, regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds. Whether you need someone to talk to, or simply a listening ear, I am here to help you through your university journey.

I completed a Master of Science at Otago and worked in laboratories here and in the UK prior to returning to Dunedin to complete a Bachelor of Theology prior to taking up church ministry. I have wrestled with many of the big questions in life from different perspectives and I'm more than happy to engage with any and all topics that trouble or interest you.

In all things, I believe we thrive best when we are connected to other people, and so I strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. I am honoured to be a part of the vibrant and diverse community here at the University of Otago, and I look forward to meeting you all.

Noho ora mai.

Steve Downey 2021 imageSteve Downey

Ecumenical chaplain based at Otago Polytechnic


Kia ora, I'm Steve, and I originally hail from Otatara, a small town near Invercargill. I've lived in Dunedin, Ōtepoti for over 20 years, and have been part of the chaplaincy whānau since 2019. My family and I are part of the Leith Valley Presbyterian Church community.

I'm here for all staff and students of Otago Polytechnic – to be a listening ear, a calming presence, and to provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care. Regardless of your faith or differences, my aim is to uphold your mana, help you connect with your true self, and assist you in achieving your academic and life goals.

Please get in touch or pop over to the Hub to say “hi”.

Shari Roy imageRev. Shari Roy

Māori chaplain across both University and Polytech campuses


Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi ngā iwi.

Ngāi Tūpoto, Patukeha ngā hapū.

Ngāi Tūpoto, Te Rawhiti ngā marae.

Kia ora whānau, my name is Shari. I am one of the new Māori chaplains at the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic. I hail from Whangārei, Northland and am married with two adult children. We have lived in Te Waipounamu for 26 years and in that time, we have had opportunities to serve, minister and care for other whānau from all walks of life, from children to kaumatua.

Te Hāhi Mihinare o Ōtepoti is the church I minister in.

I am passionate about being a good listener, learning and connecting with others, and providing spiritual support such as karakia.

I am available at Te Huka Mātauraka at the University on Mondays and Te Punaka Ōwheo at the Otago Polytechnic on Tuesdays.

Please visit or contact me by email. I am looking forward to meeting you.

Kuhu mai, kōrero mai, karakia mai.

Krystle van der Salm imageKrystle van der Salm

Māori chaplain across both University and Polytech campuses


He uri ō ngā Pāpaka o Rangatãua, He paruparu te kai He taniwha nga tangata.

Ko Mangatawa , Tahuwhakatiki, Te Whetu o te Rangi nga Marae. Ngati Ranginui, Ngaiterangi, Ngati Pukenga, Ngapotiki ngā iwi.

Noreira Tēnā koutou Tēnā koutou Tēnā tātou katoa. Ko Krystle van der Salm ahau, te kaiawhi wairua mo ngā hunga Māori ki te Whare Wānaka o Otākou me te Kura Matatini o Otākou. Ka noho au ia tāite ki Te Huka Mātauraka, ia wenerei ki Te Punaka Owheo a Te Kura Matatini. Nau mai, Kuhu mai, kōrero mai, karakia mai!

Kia ora, I am Krystle van der Salm one of the Māori chaplains. I'm at Te Huka Mātauraka on Thursdays, And Te Punaka Owheo Wednesday mornings. Love having wānanga, connecting people and īnoi.

I am wife to Luke, mum to maungārongo and many others I gather along the way. I am a minister at Elim Church Dunedin. And love kai from all over the world.

Sheila Mark 2021 imageSheila Mark

Ecumenical chaplain based at the Christchurch Campus of the University


Kia ora koutou katoa. My name is Sheila Mark. I'm the University of Otago Chaplain on site at the Christchurch Campus. My role is to support and come alongside both students and staff who are journeying through life, with all of its highs and lows. I offer a gentle presence and a listening ear.

My kete of experience fills a little more each day as I interact with people and we learn from each other. I bring with me a background in nursing, including both general and mental health experience, pastoral and counselling work and, more recently, chaplaincy at Christchurch Hospital.

On a more personal note, I am married to an amazing tāne with 4 adult tamariki and two gorgeous mokopuna. At the end of each day I enjoy retreating out to the country to relax, unwinding with at home yoga and our growing menagerie of animals.

If you see me around on campus, please don't hesitate to come up and say kia ora.

Selwyn Yeoman imageRev. Dr Selwyn Yeoman

Ecumenical volunteer chaplain based at the Dunedin Campus of the University


Selwyn Yeoman has been a minister with the Presbyterian Church since 1979, so has a fair bit of pastoral wisdom tucked away. He has extensive involvement with students, both through outdoor formational experiences, and having also been head of a college. He has a particular interest in how we care for the Earth, and his Otago doctorate was recently published under the title, "Is Anyone in Charge Here? A Christological exploration of the idea of human dominion over creation."

He is one of our volunteer chaplains and takes particular responsibility for St Margaret's College.

Richard Brown

Ecumenical Volunteer Chaplain to Salmond College and Volunteer Chaplain for queer support


Catholic Campus Ministry

Amy Armstrong imageAmy Armstrong

Catholic Chaplaincy


Kia ora. As chaplains we are here to journey along side you, whatever you may be experiencing.

I have lived in Aotearoa for nearly half of my life, originating from Minnesota, USA. A large part of my journey has been intercultural living and navigating all that goes along with that. Through this I have learned that connection is so important when you are going through a any chapter in life. You don't have to do any of this alone.

We as chaplains are here listen, chat, and just companion you wherever you are at. I'm also a trained Spiritual Director so I sometimes meet with people one on one to navigate life, looking though the lens of knowing ourselves and our gifts and how God works with us through these.

Sometimes it surprises me how long I have been a chaplain! But it has been a privilege to walk along with students and staff over the years.

Mark Chamberlain 2021 imageFather Mark Chamberlain

Catholic Chaplain


Erolia Rooney imageErolia Rooney


Si o'u alofa and peace be with you.
As a new chaplain, I am learning in this sacred space.
I pray to learn with you.

I believe in being present.
I believe in sharing.
I value connectedness.
I believe in the power of prayer.

In our journey,
God be in front to lead us.
God be behind to guide us.
God be above to bless us.

Tautai Ieova i lenei faigamalaga.
God bless our journey.

Muslim Chaplaincy

Shakila Rizwan imageDr Shakila Rizwan

Muslim Chaplain


Haizal Mohd HussainiHaizal Mohd Hussaini image

Muslim Chaplain


Assalaamu alaikum (Peace be with you).

My name is Haizal Hussaini, and I have been a Muslim Chaplain since April 2019. The Muslim Chaplaincy at Otago University and Polytechnic was established to provide moral and spiritual support and pastoral care to Muslim students and staff.

Originally from Malaysia, I was trained as a dentist and became an academician straight after graduation. I did my specialist training in Leeds, UK and then came to New Zealand to complete my PhD. During my studies, I've joined many student led association and involved in Muslim and Malaysian community activities. During my stay in Malaysia, I was involved with Myanmar refugees and UNHCR, leading dental health and educational programs. I returned to Dunedin in 2015 to joined the dental faculty as a senior lecturer in oral pathology. I'm active in multiple interfaith groups and committee as well part of the local masjid leaders.

I'm keen to listen to you with respect and compassion, without passing any judgment; and to help you in any way I can. Although I wear many hats, confidentiality and trust is always maintained as we all endeavour to help you in any way that we can.

Please don't hesitate to contact me or Dr Shakila, even if just for a chat because you feel lonely.

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