Following the pandemic speculation continued over the Niagara's involvement in bringing the virus to New Zealand. The Department of Public Health was also heavily criticised. The government responded by setting up a royal commission with wide powers of investigation.
It fell to Robert Makgill, acting Chief Health Officer, to implement the Commission's recommendations. One of the recommendations, which Makgill had argued for, was for a new Health Act ‘to consolidate and simplify the existing legislation'.
It is clear that no matter how the second wave developed in New Zealand, it was many times more deadly than any previous influenza outbreaks. No other event has killed so many New Zealanders in so short a space of time. While the First World War claimed the lives of more than 18,000 New Zealand soldiers over a four-year period, the second wave of the 1918 influenza epidemic killed almost 8600 people in less than two months.
Influenza in institutions
Death did not occur evenly throughout the country. Some communities were decimated; others escaped largely unscathed.
The first wave
When the ‘new pandemic flu’ first appeared in 1918 there was no immediate cause for alarm. The disease was different to other strains experienced in the past – for example, it was unusually prevalent amongst young healthy adults. But most people affected by what would turn out to be ‘the first wave’ of the pandemic recovered.
The Spanish flu
The 1918 influenza pandemic was commonly referred to as ‘the Spanish flu’ but it did not originate in Spain.
Influenza instructions for nurses
In the early 21st century anxiety over the danger of avian influenza virus H5N1 revived memories of New Zealand's worst disease outbreak, the lethal influenza pandemic of 1918. In two months New Zealand lost about half as many people to influenza as it had in the whole of the First World War.
The lethal influenza pandemic that struck New Zealand between October and December 1918 killed more than 8600 people in two months. No other event has claimed so many New Zealand lives in such a short time.
Work structures daily life, influencing when people eat, what they wear, how they take 'time out'. While work is usually regarded as a task undertaken for pay outside the home, unpaid work (often by women) in the house, on the farm or in the community also makes a major contribution to the lives of individuals and to the economy.