Jun 25, 2008

Wakefield Journal to stay in NZ

The long-lost journal written by early colonist Edward Jerningham Wakefield (1820–79) will not now be sold overseas.

Covering the period from 1850 to 1858, the journal was missing for about a century before coming up for auction in Dunedin last year. An Alexander Turnbull Library spokesman said the manuscript could not be exported without the permission of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, given restrictions under the Protected Objects Act.

Wakefield suffered, as his father put it, from “colonial habits”, the worst of them being intemperance as a result of which, what might have been a brilliant career terminated in disappointment (dogged by alcoholism he died penniless at Ashburton). But even if he failed to fulfill the precocious promise of his youth, Jerningham established a claim on the esteem of posterity, by his journeys and explorations and, above all, by the liveliness and colour of his 1845 book, Adventure in New Zealand, from 1839 to 1844; with Some Account of the Beginning of the British Colonization of the Islands.

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