Wakefield family grave

Four rectangular stone tablets with writing on them behind an iron fence.

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.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796–1862)

For more information on Edward Gibbon Wakefield see his Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry: Edward Gibbon Wakefield – Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

William Wakefield (1803−1848)

Following his release from prison (he was gaoled for assisting his brother Edward to abduct 15-year-old school girl Ellen Turner in 1826), William travelled widely before joining the British Legion in Spain. 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.

Accompanied by his nephew, Edward Jerningham Wakefield, the purpose of the voyage was to purchase suitable land for settlement in Port Nicholson and at Hokianga, from the residing Māori iwi. When the first settlers arrived on the Aurora on 22 January 1840, they landed at the makeshift settlement of Petone. Shortly after, Wakefield chose the area surrounding Pipitea and Te Aro Pa to begin the colony, naming it Thorndon after Thorndon Hall in England.

In 1840, Governor Hobson made a ruling that the British Crown would not recognise land purchases until its commissioners approved them. Consequently, Wakefield spent the next decade involved in land disputes between the New Zealand Company and the Crown.

He died in Wellington on 19 September 1848 (although his grave incorrectly records the date as 27 September 1848) and buried beside Daniel Wakefield’s daughter, Selina, who 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 practiced law there until his death in 1858. He was Attorney-General for New Munster (South Island) from 1847−1853 and functioned as a temporary Supreme Court judge for a period in 1855−1856.

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.

More information

Land issues on the eve of the Treaty of Waitangi – NZHistory

British immigration and the New Zealand Company – Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

New Zealand Company exploration – Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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