Bishop Selwyn Arrived To Welcome Settlers – 3rd January 1851

On 3rd January 1851, Bishop George Selwyn – the Anglican Bishop of New Zealand – sailed his ship, the ‘Undine’ into Lyttelton Harbour. He had traveled down from Auckland to welcome those who had arrived on the First Four Ships.

Now in his tenth year as Bishop, he was no stranger to Canterbury. The naming of the Selwyn District came about as he is thought to be the first European to have walked through the area. Upon his arrival in New Zealand in 1841, he and his young family settled first in Waimate and Selwyn was soon walking and canoeing around to see his huge parish. In fact, it only took him 6 years to complete his visitation of the whole of New Zealand – mostly on foot. He preached as he went, not only visiting Europeans settlements but also the Maori ones too.

A man who had no problem drawing in a crowd, he was followed around Lyttelton as he shook hands and took the time to speak to those around him. The Ngai Tahu were also pleased to see him again, calling out ‘Pihopa’ (Father Bishop) as he walked along.

With much to do during his visit, the highlights were his breakfast with John Robert Godley (the Founder of Canterbury), the meeting with the four clergy that had watched over the spiritual welfare of those of the First Four Ships – Jacobs, Dudley, Puckle and Kingdon – and enjoying afternoon tea on the silverware of the Fitzgerald’s (James Edward Fitzgerald serving as our first Superintendent and later founded ‘The Press’).

That Sunday, he took the church service in the loft of the Lyttelton Immigration Barracks. Two more services followed, one of those he preached in Maori. He soon left for the Chatham Islands with the promise to return in a month or so.

For a more in depth look at Bishop Selwyn, please check out the following link:

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