Guide to the Wakefield Family papers (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Wakefield Family
Papers of the Wakefield Family (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1815 - 1853
Collection Number
1 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Copies of letters 1815-53, transcribed by A.J. Allon, from Arthur, Edward and William Wakefield to their sister Catherine and other members of the family. Subjects include: the foundation of South Australia; the formation of the New Zealand Association in 1837; the publication of The British Colonization of New Zealand; arrival of William Wakefield and party in New Zealand in 1840; arrival of E.G. Wakefield in 1853; the murder of Arthur Wakefield by Maoris in 1843; the dispute with Lord Stanley; and the proposal in 1847 for a new colony in New Zealand.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the British Library. For more information visit: How I use the images I order?-The British Library [].

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1981 (AJCP Reel: M1887). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

British Library, 96 Euston Road, London. Collection Reference: Add MS 35261. For further information see Wakefield Family at the British Library (

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

Advisory Statement

Maori people are advised that this Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Insects: New Zealand; Land: New Zealand; Maori; Nelson, New Zealand; New Zealand; New Zealand Company; New Zealand: flora and fauna; New Zealand: politics and government; Surveyors; Torlesse, Catherine; Transit of Venus; Wakefield Family; Wakefield, Arthur; Wakefield, Charles M.; Wakefield, Daniel; Wakefield, Edward G.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 477, p186.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Wakefield (1774-1854)

Philanthropist and Statistician, started life as a farmer near Romford in Essex. In 1814 he established himself as a land agent in Pall Mall and became known as an authority on agriculture.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862)

Held minor diplomatic posts. Gaoled in 1827-1830, his writings on colonisation influenced Government policy on the sale of land in the colonies, especially in South Australia. In 1837 he formed the New Zealand Association and in 1840 became a director of the New Zealand Company. Took part in the campaign for colonial self-government. Emigrated to New Zealand in 1853 and was a Member of the House of Representatives, 1853-1855.

Edward Jerningham Wakefield (1820-1879)

Only son of E.G.Wakefield, he accompanied his father to Canada in 1838 and went to New Zealand in 1839 in Tory. He returned to England in 1844 and published Adventures in New Zealand, 2 volumes. He returned to New Zealand with E.G.Wakefield in 1852 and was elected to the House of Representatives for Canterbury in 1854. With John Robert Godley he edited E.G.Wakefield's correspondence: Founders of Canterbury, Christchurch 1868.

Arthur Wakefield (1799-1843)

Entered Royal Navy 1810, captain 1839, retired 1841. New Zealand Company's agent for Nelson settlement, arriving in 1841. Laid out Nelson and organized administration of colony. In 1843 took part on expedition to arrest Te Rauparaha and was killed in Wairau Affray.

William Hayward Wakefield (1803-1848)

Served in European Armies, attaining rank of lieutenant-colonel. Appointed Principal Agent for the New Zealand Company, he arrived at Wellington in 1839 and purchased large tracts of land from Maori chiefs. He was responsible for the interim government of the settlement. Supervised Company's settlements at Wellington, Nelson, Wanganui and Taranaki and started the negotiations for the settlement at Otago.

Daniel Wakefield (1798-1858)

Barrister and Attorney General for New Munster. He entered Lincoln's Inn in 1827 and practised law in London until 1841. He became interested in colonisation and served on the committee of the South Australian Association, and helped draft the colony's charter. In 1842 he emigrated to New Zealand and practised law in Wellington. In May 1844 he went to Otago and unsuccessfully tried to resolve the dispute between Symonds and Tuckett over the purchase of the Otago Block. From August 1847 he served as Attorney General for New Munster until he disagreed with Sir George Grey's native land policy.

Felix Wakefield (1807-1875)

Engineer and superintendent of Public works in Tasmania. He returned to England in 1847 and joined his brother, E.G.Wakefield's, colonization schemes, assisting in the establishment of Canterbury. He emigrated there in 1851 and imported to Nelson several new species of animals and promoted horticulture. In 1854 he returned to England and was made principal superintendent of the army works corps in the Crimea. He returned to New Zealand in 1863 and died at Sumner.

Item Descriptions

Series Add MS 35261. Wakefield Papers (75ff.)

Copies of letters, transcribed by A.J. Allom, secretary of E.G. Wakefield, from Edward Gibbon Wakefield, William Wakefield and Arthur Wakefield to their sister Catherine and other members of their family, 1815-53.

The subjects of the letters include the foundation of South Australia (ff. 5-6), the formation of the New Zealand Association in 1837 (ff. 9-10), the publication of The British colonization of New Zealand (ff. 11-12), the arrival of William wakefield and his party in New Zealand in 1840 (ff.13/14), the arrival of E.G. Wakefield in 1853 and his impressions of Canterbury and Wellington (ff. 18-55), relations between the Church and the New Zealand Company in 1841 (f. 59), the progress of Nelson (f. 62), the murder of Arthur Wakefield by Maoris in 1843 (ff. 64-65), the dispute with Lord Stanley (ff. 69-71), Governor G. Grey (f. 72), the proposal in 1847 for a new colony in New Zealand (ff. 74-75).