Horneman ● Saxon ● Knyvett



Douglas S. Coombs and Anne G. Coombs

Published June 2006

Douglas Coombs is a Great Grandson of Elise von Tunzelmann, one of five Russian born brothers and sisters who arrived in New Zealand in the 1850s. One brother, Nicholas von Tunzelmann, a pioneer explorer in Otago, gave his name to the Von River and Mt Nicholas, near Queenstown.
The first Tunzelmanns known to us appear in the 16th and 17th centuries in the north German town of Braunschweig, an extended family of artisans and tradesmen. One of them, Günter Tunzelmann, son of a successful merchant, gained a university education and moved to the eastern Baltic, where he become a Lutheran pastor and founded a new branch of the family in Estonia. His descendants flourished as Baltic Germans and eventually attained noble status under the Russian czars. Through marriage, their family roots can be traced back to the Northern Crusades and even earlier.
Elise von Tunzelmann's father was a major in the Russian army. Her mother and eventually her father espoused religious beliefs incompatible with the life they were leading on their estate on the island of Oesel. In the early 1840s Elise's parents left Russia with their children, and after several years of wandering as émigrés in Europe, the family settled in England. One of the sons stayed on in England, but Elise, her two sisters and two brothers emigrated to New Zealand.
The adventures, disappointments, and achievements of these five children and their families are the subject of the larger part of the book.

Copies of this 240-page, illustrated book can be obtained from the publishers, D.S. and A.G. Coombs, 6 Tolcarne Avenue, Dunedin 9010, New Zealand. E-mail: coombs@earthlight.co.nz

Charges (cheque, bank draft or cash): NZ$35 per copy plus packing and postage within New Zealand $4.20, to Australia $8.30, and to the rest of the world $15.40.