Catherine Douglas and Adoption


Douglas was born in Shannon, Ireland, orphaned as a young girl and then raised in a convent in Dublin. When she was 20 she emigrated to New Zealand, joining an uncle who was already living there, and working in his hotels until she married an Australian, George Douglas, with whom she had eight children.

She was a campaigner for social welfare, including a wage for mothers and child allowances, and against land-grabbing by white immigrants and World War I. Her campaigning was based on a strong Catholic faith (three of her children entered religious orders) and the experience of poor Irish farmers.


The Book of New Zealand Women = Ko Kui ma te Kaupapa, edited by Charlotte Macdonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams. (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1991)