Guide to the Papers of the Wakefield Family (as filmed by the 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
7 March 1804 - 1963
Collection Number
22 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

Scrapbook c.1837-74 of Charles Marcus Wakefield. Subjects include deaths of Edward Gibbon and Arthur Wakefield, activities of Wakefield in New Zealand, and Transit of Venus expedition in 1874.

Letters 1841-55 of E.G. Wakefield referring to relations between New Zealand Co and Maoris and land claims.

Letters and memoranda 1847-57 concerning resignation of Daniel Wakefield as Attorney-General and other matters.

Papers 1863-1907 of Charles M. Wakefield, including letters to his mother, referring to his work as a surveyor and his collection of New Zealand insects.

Copies of letters 1835-47 of E.G. Wakefield, Arthur Wakefield and William Wakefield, mostly written to their sister Catherine Torlesse, referring to New Zealand politics, progress of settlement at Nelson and family news.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

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

Material selectively filmed at the private residence of Mrs. P. Mitchell, Devon, England, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1993 (AJCP Reels: M2794-M2795125-138, 156). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

The private residence of Mrs P. Mitchell, Devon, England.

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

Maoris are advised that this Finding Aid contains terms and descriptive information 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.


Allon, A.J.; Immigration to New Zealand; Maori; New Zealand; New Zealand Association; South Australia; Stanley, Edward S., Lord Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby; Torlesse, Catherine; Wakefield Family; Wakefield, Arthur; Wakefield, Edward G.; Wakefield, William


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 476, pp.185-186.

Biographical / Historical

Further papers of members of the Wakefield Family in New Zealand, including Edward Gibbon Wakefield, his brother Daniel Wakefield (1798-1858) and nephew Charles Marcus Wakefield (1838-1902).

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 organised administration of colony. In 1843 took part in expedition to arrest Te Rauparaha and was killed in Wairau Affray.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862). Held minor diplomatic posts. Gaoled in 1827-30, his writings on colonisation influenced Government policy on the sale of land in the colonies, especially 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, 1853-55.

William Hayward Wakefield (1803-1848). Served in European Armies, attaining rank of lieutenant-colonel. Appointed Principal Agent for the New Zealand Company, he arrived in 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.

Item Descriptions

Series A. Charles Marcus Wakefield's Scrapbooks, c. 1830s-1880s

2 items

Scrapbook 1, c. 1830s-1860s (File 1)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Press cuttings, pamphlets, memorial cards, sketches re Australia and New Zealand, c. 1830s-1880s (Item ff. 21, 40-156)

Subjects include: death of Edward Gibbon Wakefield; E.G.Wakefield memorial; South Australia; H.J.Cridland's house at Hoon Hay; cottage at Fendalltown, 14 January 1866; New Zealand insects; activities of Wakefields in New Zealand; Lord Littelton; menu for dinner given by Philosophical Institute of Canterbury for Major Palmer, Lt. Darwin and Lt Crawford on Transit of Venus expedition, 1874; family history; death of Arthur Wakefield; New Zealand company advertisement; book reviews; memorial by Arthur Wakefield to Earl Minto, 28 February 1837; Daniel Wakefield; Thomas Attwood and Birmingham Political Union.

Includes: Memorial card for Angela Attwood, widow of Daniel Bell Wakefield of Wellington, 30 November 1874; First New Zealand bank note sent to Thomas Attwood by John Pierce, 17 January 1841.

Scrapbook 3, 1840s-1880s (File 3)

1 item
Press cuttings, photographs, pamphlets, c1840s-1880s (Item)

Subjects include: New Zealand Land Company; massacre at Wairau; loss of Blue Jacket by fire; E.G.Wakefield's house at Wellington, 1862; visit to Uxbridge by King Tawaiko, 1884.

Although listed, this material was not filmed by the AJCP as the volume was too large to film.

Series B. Boxfiles, 1818 - 1963

15 items

Subseries 1. Edward Wakefield, 30 April 1843

1 item

Biographical / Historical

Edward Wakefield (1768-1854)

Letters, 30 April 1843 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

E.Wakefield (Blois) to William (Wellington) re land and native claims; Maori language; missionary influence, 30 April 1843 (Item)

Subseries 2. E.G. Wakefield, 1818 - 1962

2 items

Biographical / Historical

E.G. Wakefield (1796-1862)

E.G.W. letters, (100p.), 1818 - 1854 (File)

Comprises of legal papers, letters, transcriptions and pamphlet.

Subjects include: relations between New Zealand Company and natives; land; settlement; death of child.

Wakefield Papers (copies), 1834 - 1962 (File)

Subjects include: finding a parliamentary seat for E.G.W.; publications on New Zealand; formation of Land Company for New South Wales; Pymouth Company.

Subseries 3. Catherine Gurney Torlesse and others, 1837-09-03 - 1852-10-12; 1962 - 1963

6 items
Letters to Catherine Gurney Torlesse (nee Wakefield), 16 September 1843 - 12 October 1852 (File)
3 items

Filmed selectively.

EGW (Plymouth) to Catherine Torlesse re boarding ship for New Zealand; other passengers (4p. transcribed), 12 October 1852 (Item C5)
Charles C.Torlesse (Riccarton) to EGW, 21 February 1849 (Item C6)

Requesting seeds of forest trees 'the association should make a point of sending out seeds in every ship'; assistance received from Messrs Dean; French claims; coal. (6p.)

EGW (Halifax, NS) to C.T. 'received good accounts from Nelson', 16 September 1843 (Item C7)
Felix Wakefield (22p.), 1962 - 1963 (File)
2 items
Notes on Felix Wakefield's family, court cases and references in Lyttelton Times (Item)
New Zealand Founders' Society Inc. Annual report, 1962 - 1963 (Item)
William Wakefield, Arthur Wakefield, Priscilla Chapman, 1843-06-29 - 1848-11-30; 1962-12-02 - 1962-12-07 (File)
11 items

Filmed selectively.

F.D. Bell (Wellington) to T.C. Harington re death of Colonel William Wakefield. (8p.), 24 September 1848 (Item)
Notes and press cuttings re death of Colonel Wakefield. (20p.), n.d. (Item)
William Wakefield (St Pauli, Cook's Strait) to his sister Priscilla Chapman re Arthur's death. (4p.), 18 August 1843 (Item)
William Wakefield (Wellington) to Charles re death of Arthur. (4p.), 29 June 1843 (Item)
H.A.A(?) (London) to William (Wellington) introducing Mr Oates; New Zealand government bill; settlement of land question. (8p.), 6 May 1844, 31 Jan., 30 Nov. 1848 (Item)
Charles Torlesse (Weimea) to parents re death of Arthur 'murdered by 2 cannibal chiefs of New Zealand'. (3p.), 8 July 1843 (Item)
G.A.Selwyn (New Zealand) to (?) re circumstances of Arthur's death. (Extract), 6 July 1843 (Item)
Irma (Auckland) to Priscilla [Mitchell] re Wakefield family. (2p.), 4 December 1962 (Item)
Barbara Beetham (Masterton, New Zealand) to Priscilla Williams [Mitchell] re Bertham family, 7 December 1962 (Item)
Flora Standle (New Zealand Founders' Society, Whanganui) to Mrs Williams [Mitchell] enclosing story of Wairau massacre. (4p.), 2 December 1962 (Item)
Col. William Wakefield's own account of his career, n.d. (Item)
Loose Papers, 3 September 1837 (File)
2 items

Filmed selectively.

Arthur Wakefield (Rhadamanthus, Woolwich) to Catherine Torlesse that EGW has gone to sea; Lord Durham about New Zealand. (3p. and transcription), 3 September 1837 (Item B1)
Notes on Wakefield family. (12p.), n.d. (Item)
Jerningham Wakefield (21p.) (File)

Notes and press cutting on Jerningham Wakefield, son of EGW.

Loose Papers, 3 October 1846 (File)
2 items

Filmed selectively.

Press cutting re memorial to William Wakefield, n.d. (Item)
H.A. A(?) (New Zealand House) to William Wakefield (Wellington) re representation for the colony 'the colony is sure to prosper', 3 October 1846 (Item)

Subseries 5. E.Wakefield E.G.Wakefield, D.B. Wakefield, A.Wakefield, 17 February 1846 - 5 November 1857

2 items
Daniel Wakefield (64p.), 22 September 1847 - 5 November 1857 (File)

Letters and memoranda concerning Daniel Wakefield's resignation as Attorney General of New Zealand in April 1853 and other events.

Correspondents include: Daniel Wakefield, drafts; Catherine Torlesse (Stoke); Henry Sewell (Wellington); James Wodehouse (Wellington).

Envelope: Original Wellington House Agreement, 17 February 1846 (File)

Agreement between Robert Park of Wellington and Daniel Wakefield of Wellington re Wellington Terrace. (Filmed selectively, 5p.)

Subseries 6. C.M. Wakefield, 14 February 1858 - 23 February 1925

11 items
To and from Charles Marcus Wakefield, 8 January 1863 - 23 February 1925 (File)
8 items

Filmed selectively.

Thomas Brown (Auckland) to C.M.Wakefield re New Zealand beetles; he has lost money in investment in a local gold mine. (8p.), 15 July 1876 (Item)
Thomas Brown (Auckland) to C.M.Wakefield re his straighten circumstances. (3p.), 10 November 1891 (Item)
W.P.White (Melbourne) to Messrs Dalgety Nichols and Co (Christchurch), 4 September 1875 (Item)

Re passage to London on Northumberland. Includes leaflets re Messrs Wigram and Sons ships. (9p.)

Deed and lease re Wakefield burial plot in Wellington cemetary includes plan (6p.), 8 January 1863 - 7 May 1884 (Item)
Horace Fildes (Westport) to Mrs C.M.Wakefield re publication Stafford memories (3p.), 23 February 1925 (Item)
Correspondence re deposit of C.M.Wakefield's collection of New Zealand insects at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch. (7p.), 2 July 1907 - 17 December 1907 (Item)
Draft on Colonial Bank of New Zealand. (2p.), 2 March 1876 (Item)
Bundle of receipts from New Zealand, (16p.), 1872 - 1898 (Item)
Bills (c72p.), 1871 - 1876 (File)

Various invoices and bills from New Zealand.

Includes: Catalogue of superior household furniture and effects…to be sold by auction by Charles Clark on 26 October 1875 at residence of C.M.Wakefield, Fendalltown Road. (Printed.)

Prices have been written in.

New Zealand letters and papers about surveying (c30p.), 20 June 1863 - 30 November 1868 (File)

Letters re his appointment as Surveyor to Electric Telegraph Department, Christchurch, (Some letters incomplete)

Letters from C.M.Wakefield to his mother (234p.), 14 February 1858 - 22 November 1873 (File)

Letters from C.M.Wakefield (Minaki Downs, Evans Pass, Gollans Bay, Okain's Bay, Le Bon's Bay, Little Akaloa, Hoon Hay, Wairewa, Canterbury, Kahutara, Christchurch, SS Northumberland, Fendalltown) to his mother.

Subjects include: his father's death; shepherding with Torlesse; working as surveyor for Mr Shaw and Mr Cridland; living in a tent; depression - wages lowered; poor job prospects; employment with Telegraph Department; family news; voyage on Northumberland to Melbourne; rough weather; other passengers; arrival at Port Phillip; his interest in natural history; Christchurch 'mad with gaity' for visit from Governor.

(Some poor copies, coloured paper).

Includes: 'H' to Angela Attwood with news of Attwood and Wakefield family members; 'seems hard that talent and fair education should only make him [CMW] a shepherd' offers to help CMW, 19 January 1858.

Although listed, this material was not filmed by the AJCP as it was not available at the time of filming.

Series C. Letterbook (c80p.), 7 March 1804 - 14 June 1854

5 items

Copies of letters from EGW (London, Wellington, Auckland) to Reverend C.M. and Catherine Torlesse, 11 December 1835 - 14 June 1854 (File 1)

Copies of letters from Arthur Wakefield (Hebrus, Sheerness, London, Nelson) to sister, Catherine Torlesse and father, 26 September 1815 - 23 November 1841 (File 2)

Subjects include: his decision to go to New Zealand; progress of settlement at Nelson.

Copies of letters from William Wakefield (Port Nicholson, Wellington) to Catherine Torlesse, 25 March 1840 - 29 March 1847 (File 3)

Subjects include: his pleasure at arriving in New Zealand; 'the natives are fast improving amongst us', news of other family members in New Zealand; death of Arthur; mischief done by missionaries with regard to land question.

Copies of correspondence between Sir George Grey and EGW on board Re passage to London on Northumberland and Minerva re the constitution; differences with the colonists, March 1853 (File 4)

[Daniel Bell?] to [Uncle?], 7 March 1804 (File)

Family matters.

Nina Wakefield (Harehatch) to Rosabel re South Australia; exploring; urges her to go to South Australia 'I am almost sure of going with Papa in October.' (Copy), 4 September 1834 (File 5)