The long-lost journal written by early colonist Jerningham
A Dunedin private book dealer says he will not now be
selling overseas a long-lost journal of Edward Jerningham
Wakefield, one of New Zealand's best-known early colonists.
Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle said in early reports yesterday he
hoped to sell the Wakefield journal overseas for a five
figure sum, but yesterday afternoon, he told the Otago
Daily Times that, having subsequently checked further on
the contents of the Protected Objects Act, he had changed his
He had been in recent email correspondence with the Alexander
Turnbull Library and was happy to sell the journal within New
Zealand, but was still seeking a sum "in the low five
Alexander Turnbull officials said the manuscript could not be
exported without the permission of the Ministry for Culture
and Heritage, given restrictions under the Act.
Dunedin historian and author Philip Temple said it would be
"absolutely absurd" if the journal was lost again by being
Edward Jerningham Wakefield was the only son of Edward Gibbon
Wakefield, who was instrumental in the development of the New
Zealand Company and was the driving force behind much of the
early colonisation of New Zealand.
The journal, covering 1850-58, was missing for about 100
years before it came up for auction in Dunedin last year.
The London-born Edward Jerningham Wakefield accompanied his
uncle, Colonel William Wakefield, to New Zealand on the New
Zealand Company ship Tory in 1839, seeking a site for a
colony in the Cook Strait area.
Jerningham Wakefield later returned to London, where his book
Adventure in New Zealand (1845), giving an account of early
colonial life, was published.
He came back to New Zealand in 1850, twice serving as a
parliamentary representative for the Christchurch area
(1853-55 and 1871-75) and also representing the City of
Wellington on the Provincial Council (1857-61).
Mr Temple, who wrote an award-winning biography of the
Wakefield family - A Sort of Conscience: The Wakefields -
knew the journal existed but was unable to locate it when he
was researching the book.
He wants the journal to stay in New Zealand.
The work was a taonga (treasure) that was about 150 years old
and belonged in this country, preferably at a major public
institution such as the Alexander Turnbull Library, he said.
Mr Temple also hoped the discovery of the journal could
result in other papers previously belonging to Jerningham
Wakefield also coming to light.
Jerningham Wakefield's later life was dogged by alcoholism
and he died, penniless, in Ashburton in 1879.
The journal's text is being published as a limited edition
book by Dunedin's Kilmog Press early next month.