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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Mr. Edward Wakefield

Mr. Edward Wakefield, was a Minister of the Crown for six days as Colonial Secretary in the fourth Atkinson Government—the shortest on record in the Colony. He is the fifth son of the late Felix Wakefield, and nephew of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the well-known colonizer and founder of South Australia, and New Zealand. Born in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1845, he accompanied his parents to England, and was brought to New Zealand in 1851. Part of his boyhood was spent under the care of an uncle in Wellington. In 1855 he went to London where he was educated at King's College, and in 1863 returned to the Colony, and joined the staff of the Nelson Examiner. Two years after he entered the Civil Service as clerk, and in 1866 was appointed Private Secretary to the Premier, Sir E. W. Stafford. Subsequently he became Confidential Secretary to the Cabinet, a position which he held for four years. For a few years he was well-known as a part proprietor and editor of the Evening Press, Wellington. He performed the duties of editor with distinguished ability, but managed to run the paper into two libel actions, the expenses of which were ruinously heavy. Mr. Wakefield entered Parliament in 1875 as member for Geraldine, and was re-elected for the same constituency in 1879. He was defeated at the elections of 1881, and two years later on contesting the Inangahua seat. In May, 1884, he wooed the electors of Selwyn successfully, and in the month of July following was returned unopposed. He is a fluent speaker, and a gifted lecturer. His knowledge of literature is wide and comprehensive, and his style as a writer clear and smooth. In all points he is a characteristic member of a gifted family. Mr. Wakefield is well-known as the author of a book, treating of the Colony's progress for the last fifty years. He has left New Zealand, and for some time has been in America.