Books & Publications

Jerningham, by Cristina Sanders

Jerningham by Cristina Sanders

About Jerningham:

“A spectacular debut that brings us an immersive, intelligent and well researched insight into the early days of New Zealand’s European settlement.” – Mandy Hager

Edward Jerningham Wakefield was the wild-child of the Wakefield family that set up the New Zealand Company to bring the first settlers to this country. His story is told through the eyes of bookkeeper Arthur Lugg, who is tasked by Colonel William Wakefield to keep tabs on his brilliant but unstable nephew. As trouble brews between settlers, government, missionaries and Māori over land and souls and rights, Jerningham is at the heart of it, blurring the line between friendship and exploitation and spinning the hapless Lugg in his wake.

Alive with historical detail, Jerningham tells a vivid and important story of Wellington’s colonial beginnings and of a charismatic young man’s rise and inevitable fall.

Jerningham, by Cristina Sanders, is published by Cuba Press with printing sponsored by Wakefields Digital.
BUY from New Zealand bookshops; mail order from The Cuba Press; or download the ebook on Amazon kindle.

We had two launch parties which also celebrated Jerningham’s 200th birthday. I think he would have loved them. Launch party photos here.


Interview with Barry Crump of RNZ on the background to Jerningham
Interview with Jill Miller at Radio Kidnappers
Interview on MPR Manawatū People’s Radio: Words from the Bubble
Review Book of the week, Lydia Wevers in the Reading Room.
Review in the Auckland Herald, by Elizabeth Heritage (who missed the point…)
Review in Landfall, Portraits of New Zealand history by Cushla McKinney

Idea for a Wellington settlement thought up in prison
Dominion Post Feature article

The arrival of the ship the Aurora in Port Nicholson on January 22, 1840, marked the beginning of New Zealand’s first systematically settled colony, one of many towns to be designed by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the New Zealand Company in London.

Though we mark that date as the founding of Wellington, it wasn’t called Wellington then, and the first colonials were camping across the harbour at Pito-one. 

They called the new settlement “Britannia”, and the men who had arrived only a few weeks earlier on the survey ship the Cuba were busy trying to peg out a town for the settlers on the shifting gravel of the Heretaunga River. There were floods and fires and earthquakes. Within a few months they moved across the harbour to Te Aro, and the new town became Wellington  10 months later.

Wakefield came up with the concept of transplanting the best of a cross-section of English society to a new land while he was languishing in Newgate Prison, in London. He and his brother William were serving time for abducting an heiress – an early example of his get-rich-quick schemes – but that’s another story. 

Read more: Link to the full article