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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




Barrister-at-law, Attorney-General for New Munster.

Daniel Wakefield was born in 1798, the second son of Edward Wakefield (1774–1854) and Susanna, née Crash (d. 1817). He entered Lincoln's Inn (1827) and practised law in London until 1841. In 1835 he married Angela, daughter of Thomas Atwood, member of Parliament for Birmingham. With his elder brother, Edward Gibbon, he became interested in colonisation. He served on the Committee of the South Australian Association and helped to draft the colony's Charter. Wakefield applied for the South Australia Judgeship but failed to secure it. In 1842 he emigrated alone under the assumed name of “Bowler” to the New Zealand Company's New Plymouth settlement, but revealed his identity after Arthur Wakefield's death in the Wairau Affray. He then moved to Wellington where he practised law. In May 1844, as the Company's sub-agent, he was sent to Otago where he attempted unsuccessfully to resolve the dispute between Symonds and Tuckett over the purchase of the Otago Block. In February 1845, at a public meeting at the Aurora Tavern, Wellington, Wakefield moved a memorial praying for protection against the natives, and a week later he was elected to the citizens' committee charged to form a local volunteer militia. In August 1847 he was designated Attorney-General for New Munster, in which post he served without distinction until 1853 when he disagreed with Sir George Grey's native land policy. During the Chief Justice's absence (1855–56), Wakefield acted as a temporary Judge at the Supreme Court. He died in Wellington on 8 January 1858.

by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.

  • Crown Colony Government in New Zealand, McLintock, A. H. (1958)
  • New Zealand Spectator, 22 May 1844, 1 Feb 1845, 5 Apr 1845
  • Wellington Independent, 12 Apr 1845.


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.