Level of description:
Born in England, Mantell was the son of the palaeontologist and geologist Gideon Algernon Mantell. He arrived in New Zealand in 1840 at the age of 19, and was at times a Land Purchase Commissioner, scientist, and politician. He was appointed to the Office of Commissioner for Extinguishing Native Titles, Middle Island (South Island), in August 1848, and in October 1851 became Commissioner of Crown Lands for the Southern District, leading to conflicts with Otago authorities. He was in the House of Representatives, 1861-1866, and held a seat in the Legislative Council, 1866-1895. He was also a noted pioneer in natural history, sending specimens back to his father in England. Mantell often used Matara as a pen name.
Scope and Content:
Letterbook and notebook belonging to Mantell, letter to his mother, early photographs of Dunedin, Mantell family tree.