Key Points:

The new Anglican Bishop of Waiapu is American David Rice, the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Dunedin.

Bishop-elect Rice was born and raised in Lexington, North Carolina, and he won an athletic scholarship to Lenior Rhyne College, where he played tennis and gridiron - he's 193cm tall - and he took degrees in history and religion.

He later won a place at the Duke University's Divinity School, gained a Master's Degree in Divinity, trained for ministry in the Methodist Church.

In 1991 David and his wife Tracy came to New Zealand, and for two years he served as minister to the Thames Uniting Parish, before returning to another five-year posting at a Methodist church in his home town of Lexington.

By their third year, the couple had decided they wanted to make their home in New Zealand. They returned to New Zealand, where he was received into the Anglican Church in Christchurch.

He then served in the Mt Herbert parish on Banks Peninsula for four years, before accepting appointment as Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in 2002.

He will be ordained and installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Waiapu on Saturday June 7, at the Waiapu Cathedral in Napier.

He said he sees his election as evidence of a growing desire within the Anglican Church to see the next generation of leaders begin to emerge.

"About 15 years ago there were a number of priests, each in their late 40s, who put their hands up and accepted the challenge of leadership in this church. The wheel is turning. It's now time for a new wave of priests to show they're ready to embrace that challenge."

The Diocese of Waiapu covers much of the east of the North Island.