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Wakefield Family Grave

Buried in the Wakefield Family Grave in Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington are: Edward Gibbon Wakefield, his brothers William and Daniel Wakefield, and Daniel's daughter, Selina Elizabeth Wakefield.

For more information on Edward Gibbon Wakefield (and Edward Jerningham Wakefield) see the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography profiles on Te Ara.

William Wakefield (1803-1848)

Following his release from prison (he was gaoled for assisting Edward to abduct Ellen Turner in 1826), William travelled widely before joining the British legion in Spain. On being discharged with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, he became the principal agent for the New Zealand Company's first expedition to New Zealand aboard the Tory in 1839.

He was accompanied by Edward's son, Jerningham, who acted as his secretary. The purpose of the voyage was to purchase suitable land for settlement in Port Nicholson and at Hokianga, from the residing Māori iwi. Wakefield chose the area surrounding Pipitea and Te Aro Pa to begin the colony, naming it Thorndon after Thorndon Hall in England. (When the first settlers arrived on the Aurora on 22 January 1840, they landed at the makeshift settlement of Petone. Shortly after, the settlement was moved to Thorndon).

In 1840, Governor Hobson made a ruling that no land purchases would be recognised by the government until they were approved by its commissioners. As a consequence, Wakefield spent most of the decade involved in land disputes between the New Zealand Company and the government.

He died in Wellington on 19 September 1848 (although his grave incorrectly records the date as 27 September 1848) and was buried beside his young niece Selina, daughter of Daniel. Selina had died one month earlier.

Daniel Wakefield (1798-1858)

Daniel, brother of Edward and William, qualified as a lawyer and emigrated to New Plymouth in 1842 under the assumed name of 'Bowler'. After the death of his brother, Captain Arthur Wakefield, killed in the Wairau affray in 1843, he revealed his identity, moved to Wellington and practised law there until his death in 1858. He was Attorney-General for New Munster from 1847-1853, and acted as a temporary Supreme Court judge for a period in 1855-6.

Selina Elizabeth Wakefield (1837-1848)

Also buried in the family plot is Selina, Daniel's daughter, who had died one month before William on 20 August 1848.

Location of the Wakefield family grave in Bolton Street Memorial Park.



Updated on 7th October 2019