Born in Hawera in 1939, Bryan attended Tauranga College and Dannevirke High School, becoming dux of both his primary and secondary schools.
He completed a B.A. Ll.B., and an Ll.M. with first-class honours at Victoria and Auckland Universities.
Receiving a Rhodes scholarship in 1962, he completed a post-graduate law degree with first-class honours at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1964 he joined the British Diplomatic Service and so began his career in public service.
Bryan was first elected to the House of Commons a decade later as a Labour MP.
After serving in a raft of positions within the British parliament, Bryan moved back to New Zealand to take up the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waikato.
Being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004, Bryan stepped down from his role at the University and was made a director of Television New Zealand.
Bryan lives in Ohiwa with his wife Gillian and together they have two children and six grandchildren.
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