Selwyn was born in London in 1809, educated at Eton and Cambridge
and ordained in 1833. In 1841, he was made first Bishop of New
Zealand. He diligently studied the Maori tongue on his long sea
voyage, and was able to preach in it on his arrival. He laid the
foundations of the Church, not only in New Zealand, but throughout
the islands of Melanesia. In the ten-year war between the Maoris and
the European colonists, Selwyn managed to keep the confidence of
both sides, and ultimately at the first general synod of the Church
in New Zealand in 1859 to secure the adoption of a Constitution that
established the principle of full participation by Maori Christians
at all levels of Church government.
George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
In 1867, Selwyn was pressured to accept appointment as Bishop
of Lichfield. Reluctantly, he returned to England, where he died
eleven years later.