George Augustus Selwyn

1809-1878. First Church of England bishop of New Zealand. Educated at Eton and St. John's College, Cambridge, he became a fellow of his college and was ordained in 1833. He gained parish experience in Windsor and was a private tutor at Eton. He was consecrated bishop of New Zealand in 1841 and reached Auckland, which later became his see city, in 1842. He traveled widely throughout New Zealand. Through an error of latitude in his letters patent he claimed that his diocese took in much of the Pacific. From 1848 he made frequent journies to Melanesia. He founded a college in New Zealand to train young men from the islands for the proposed mission. In 1861 he was instrumental in making Melanesia a separate diocese under J.C. Patteson.* The impetus for this missionary program came from the 1850 conference of the Australasian bishops under W.G. Broughton* in Sydney. Selwyn also planned the division of his diocese in the years following his visit to England in 1854. In 1857 a constitution for the church in New Zealand was drawn up. By 1859, when the first general synod met, there were four other bishoprics.

Selwyn was a pioneer in the concept of the independence of the Church of England in the colonies. Despite differences of churchmanship from the missionaries of the Church Missionary Society, Selwyn supported their evangelization of the Maoris even in the difficult days of the Maori wars. In 1867, while present at the first Lambeth Conference,* Selwyn was appointed bishop of Lichfield and did much to pioneer industrial chaplaincy work there until his death.