E.G. Wakefield came to New Zealand in 1853. He had been involved in colonisation projects in South Australia and America before his involvement in the New Zealand Association in 1837. He was also a founding member with J. R. Godley of the Canterbury Association, of a Church of England settlement in New Zealand. Wakefield was elected M.P. for Hutt and was involved with the introduction of "responsible government" in 1855.
His papers are predominantly outward letters giving his views of the Canterbury settlement and other policies. Personal family correspondence is also included.