Topic: Edward Douglas (born Landells) (1838-1916)

Topic type:

Edward Douglas was the great grandfather of Wayne McCormack, husband of Katikati historian Ellen McCormack. He ran a half-way house between Tauranga and Rotorua, known as the Bush Hotel. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Edward Landells was born in Walkergate Street in Alnwick, Northumberland, England on 6 July 1838. His parents were Adam and Margaret Landells (nee Douglas) who had married at Gretna Green in Dumfries, Scotland on 8 March 1832.

The family left England in September 1849 for Adelaide, Australia, on board the 'Douglas'. There were twenty-one deaths on this voyage, including Edward's mother and little brother. Soon after arrival in Australia, Edward's father re-married.

In around 1853 Edward joined the Royal Navy and served on board the 'Matilda'. After receiving punishment for being absent without leave he jumped ship with the intention of heading for New Zealand, changing his last name to his mother's maiden name of Douglas.

On 11 July 1864 Edward enlisted with the 3rd Waikato Regiment and arrived in New Zealand from Australia soon after. He also served with the Alexandra (Pirongia) Cavalry Volunteers, the Waiuku Rifle Volunteers and Gibert Mair's Arawa Contingent.

Edward married Korowhiti Tuataka on 6 July 1870 at Wairoa in Hawke's Bay. They ran the Halfway House coach stop and hotel at Ngawaro between Tauranga and Rotorua. The family moved to Wairoa in Hawke's Bay in around 1874, and then back again prior to 1882 where they ran the Halfway House again, now renamed the Bush Hotel. By 1891 the Bush Hotel had closed and the family moved to Galatea between Rotorua and Taupo and then to Okauia near Matamata in 1894 where Korowhiti was involved in protests against the surveying of her ancestral lands. Edward died on 21 December 1916. 

On 10 January 1917 the Bay of Plenty Times printed an obituary for Edward Douglas:

On December 21 there died at Okauia, after a long illness, Mr Edward Douglas, who was well-known in this part of New Zealand in the early days. He fought at Gate Pa and in many other engagements in the Maori War, afterwards taking up his residence at Rotorua. At the time of the eruption the late Mr Douglas rendered excellent aid to the surviving settlers, he being the first man to enter the stricken zone after the catastrophe. He was born at Alnwick, Northumberland, 79 years ago, afterwards emigrating to Australia and later to New Zealand. At Wairoa, H.B he married Korowhiti Tuataka, who afterwards became well known as a petitioner to the House of Representatives in connection with Native land. The late Mr Douglas in the early days kept the half-way house between Tauranga and Rotorua (Ngawaro). He had been ailing for about nine months before his death, the illness being the result of an accident. The funeral took place at Okauia on December 24, the Rev. R. W. Jackson, Presbyterian Minister at Matamata, conducting the service. The deceased leaves a widow, 11 children, 59 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren to mourn their loss (p. 2).

Korowhiti died on 26 August 1920. Both are buried in the family urupa at Okauia, Matamata. 

HALFWAY HOUSE C 1900 99-348

Halfway House (1898). Photo by Mary Humphreys.


Bay of Plenty Times (10 January 1917, p. 2).

Clement, Christine (2011). The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District (pp. 78-79).

Ellen McCormack (personal communication, 2015).


This page was archived at Perma cc April 2017

Discuss This Topic

There are 8 comments in this discussion.

Read and join this discussion

join this discussion

Edward Douglas (born Landells) (1838-1916)

First Names:Edward
Last Name:Douglas
Date of Birth:6 July 1838
Place of Birth:Walkergate Street, Alnwick, Northumberland
Country of birth:England
Date of death:21 December 1916
Place of death:Okauia, Waikato, New Zealand
Place of burial:Okauia, Matamata, New Zealand
Spouses name:Korowhiti Tuataka
Spouses date of birth:23 February 1853
Spouses place of birth:Hairini, Tauranga, New Zealand
Spouses date of death:29 August 1920
Spouses place of death:Okauia, Waikato, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Okauia, Matamata, New Zealand
Date of marriage:6 July 1870
Place of marriage:New Zealand
Fathers name:Adam Landells
Fathers date of birth:14 January 1813
Fathers place of birth:Alnwick, Northumberland, England
Fathers date of death:31 August 1883
Fathers place of death:Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Mothers name:Margaret Douglas
Mothers date of birth:9 June 1813
Mothers place of birth:Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, England
Mothers date of death:21 October 1849
Mothers place of death:at sea on board ship 'Douglas'
Military Service:New Zealand Wars