Arthur Wakefield, Capt. RN

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Arthur Wakefield, Capt. RN

Birthplace: Burnham, Essex, England
Death: Died in Tuamarina, Marlborough, North Island, New Zealand
Cause of death: Wairau Incident: clubbed to death
Place of Burial: Tuamarina Cemetery, Tuamarina, Marlborough, North Island, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward Wakefield and Susanna Wakefield
Brother of Catherine Gurney Torlesse; Edward Gibbon Wakefield; Daniel Bell Wakefield; William Wakefield; Col. John Howard Wakefield and 3 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Arthur Wakefield, Capt. RN

Captain Arthur Wakefield (19 November 1799-17 June 1843) was the second brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, founder of the New Zealand Company. Wakefield resigned from the royal Navy in 1841 to join the New Zealand Company’s second colony. He led the preliminary expedition of three ships which reached Nelson in November 1841. Wakefield gained respect as a leader of the new settlement but there was discontent over the shortage of available land. In 1843 he decided to proceed with surveying in the Wairau Valley, despite protests by Maori.

"Captain Arthur Wakefield obtained warrants to arrest Te Rangihaeata and Te Rauparaha on charges of arson after they burnt down a surveyors’ hut in the Wairau valley. On 17 June 1843 he took a party of almost 50 armed settlers to Wairau to execute the warrants. In a confrontation, a stray shot killed Te Rangihaeata’s wife, Te Rongo, as she sat by the fire. Shots were exchanged and the settlers retreated. Captain Wakefield ordered the firing to cease and surrendered, displaying a white handkerchief as a peace token. Wakefield and eight others were taken prisoner. Te Rangihaeata wanted to kill them. Te Rauparaha objected, but Te Rangihaeata reminded him of his wife’s fate, then clubbed the men to death. In all 22 settlers and at least four Māori were killed." Source:

A memorial at Tuamarina cemetery was erected in 1869 to commemorate the 1843 Wairau incident. Source:

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Arthur Wakefield, Capt. RN's Timeline

November 19, 1799
Burnham, Essex, England
June 17, 1843
Age 43
Tuamarina, Marlborough, North Island, New Zealand
Age 43
Tuamarina, Marlborough, North Island, New Zealand