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Early Wellington

Monument to Colonel Wakefield

Monument to Colonel Wakefield.

A meeting of some of the friends of the late Colonel Wakefield was held at the Aurora Tavern on Saturday, 30th of September, 1848, for the purpose of making arrangements for collecting suscriptions to erect a monument to his memory. The chair was taken by the Hon. H. Petre, and several resolutions were passed for the furtherance of the object of the meeting. The subscriptions were limited to one guinea. Major Baker was requested to act as secretary.

“The incription on the tomb of the late Colonel Wakefield in the Church of Thorndon Flat (now in the Wakefield Plot, Sydney Street, Cemetery), reads thus:— “Sacred to the Memory of William Wakefield, first principal Agent of the New Zealand Company, Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Lancers in the British Auxiliary Force of Spain, Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal, Knight of San Fernando of Spain.

“Colonel Wakefield was the fourth son of Edward Wakefield, Esq., of Burnham, in the County of Essex, in England. In the year 1825 he acted as Secretary to the English Minister at Turin. In 1828 he travelled through Austria, Russia and Lapland. From 1832 to 1838 he served with distinction in the English Regiment of Lancers engaged in the constitutional cause throughout the civil wars in Portugal and Spain and in 1839 led the first body of English Colonists to the shores of New Zealand. From this period to his death he acted as principal agent to the New Zealand Company.… He died at Wellington on the 19th September, 1848, in the 48th year of his age, and was followed to the grave by a large body of settlers.”

“This inscription is from the pen of the Colonial Secretary, the Hon. A. Domett, but there is a mistake in the statement of his having served as Secretary to the British Minister at Turin. It was his elder brother, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who was Secretary to Lord Berwick in Piedmont.”*

* “N.Z. Journal,” 3rd November, 1849, p. 254.