Events In History
12 October 1918Niagara's arrival blamed for flu pandemic
Many people blamed the liner Niagara for bringing a deadly new influenza virus to New Zealand. But six people had died of the flu in Auckland in the three days before it arrived, and the upsurge in cases in the city came two weeks later. Read more...
3 May 1897NZ's first woman doctor registered
Margaret Cruickshank became the first woman to be registered as a doctor in New Zealand. She practised in Waimate until her death during the 1918 influenza pandemic. Read more...
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.
Page 2 – The pandemic begins abroad
The 1918 influenza pandemic was commonly referred to as ‘the Spanish flu’ but it did not originate in Spain.
Page 3 – The pandemic hits New Zealand
Many people believed that the second wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic arrived in New Zealand in the form of ‘a deadly new virus’ on board the RMS Niagara.
Page 4 – Uneven rates of death
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-
Page 5 – Response to the influenza pandemic
There were consistencies in New Zealand's response to the influenza pandemic. Many of these arose out of a circular telegram the Health Minister, George Russell, issued to all
Page 6 – Aftermath
Robert Makgill Following the pandemic speculation continued over the Niagara's involvement in bringing the virus to New Zealand.
Page 7 – North Island influenza death rates
Death rates from the 1918 influenza pandemic for towns and counties in the North Island
Page 8 – South Island influenza death rates
Death rates in South Island towns and counties from the influenza pandemic
Page 9 – Influenza in Samoa
The total number of deaths attributable to influenza is estimated to have reached 8500, or 22% of the Samoan population
Page 10 – Further information
This web feature was written by Imelda Bargas and produced by the NZHistory.net.nz team.
After four terrible years, the First World War finally came to a close with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers on 11 November 1918. New Zealanders celebrated enthusiastically, despite having recently celebrated the surrenders of the three other Central Powers and the premature news of an armistice with Germany.
Page 2 – Pre-Armistice Day surrenders
From October 1918 New Zealanders progressively celebrated the surrenders of Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary before the armistice with Germany on 11 November.
Page 3 – False armistice
On 7 November 1918 the Prime Minister assured the public - following rumours to the contrary - that the government was not holding back news of a German surrender. The next
Page 5 – Armistice Day and the flu
The influenza pandemic dampened some Armistice festivities, particularly in Auckland.
Page 7 – New Zealand in 1918
Some facts and stats about New Zealand in the year of the First World War armistice
New Zealand was ill-equipped to cope with the Western Samoa mandate allocated by the League of Nations in 1920. The Mau movement's passive resistance culminated in the violence of 'Black Saturday', 28 December 1929, which left 11 Samoans and one New Zealand policeman dead.
Page 2 – Background
When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize German Samoa as a 'great and urgent Imperial service'.
Although the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918, peace wasn't officially proclaimed until 28 June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. In July 1919 communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire celebrated peace with elaborate public events over several days.
- Page 2 - Planning gets under wayAlmost immediately after the armistice, communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire began to plan elaborate celebrations that would mark the official end of the war in a
Cook Islanders, Niueans, Fijians and Gilbert Islanders all took their place in the ranks of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the First World War. As well as the dangers of war, Pacific soldiers faced language difficulties, an unfamiliar army diet and European diseases.
Page 4 – Fijian and Gilbert Island Contingents
Information on men from Fiji and the Gilbert Islands who enlisted for service in the NZEF.
Page 5 – Difficulties faced by Pacific Islanders
Information on the difficulties faced by Pacific Islanders when they left their island homes for the first time and entered the army.
Participation in the First World War changed Pacific Islanders' lives. Returning servicemen had seen the world.
- Page 3 - Troop repatriationWhen the Armistice was signed in November 1918, Pacific island troops in New Zealand service were stationed in a number of
When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize German Samoa as a ‘great and urgent Imperial service’. Although the tiny German garrison offered no opposition, at the time it was regarded as a potentially risky action.
- Page 4 - Wartime administrationGerman officials were replaced by New Zealand military officers, civilians, or British residents. These often lacked the experience or qualifications to do the
Cruickshank, Margaret Barnet
Margaret Cruickshank was the first woman to be registered as a doctor in New Zealand. She worked tirelessly during the 1918 influenza pandemic but eventually caught the disease herself and died on 28 November 1918.Read more...
Robert Logan ran the military administration of German Samoa on behalf of Britain during the First World War.Read more...
Makgill, Robert Haldane
Robert Makgill was a key figure in the development of New Zealand's public health system. He was one of the country's first district health officers and played a crucial role during the devastating 1918 influenza pandemic.Read more...
- training camp
- robert logan
- german samoa occupation
- central powers
- ottoman empire
- austro-hungarian empire
- rarotongan company
- gilbert islands
- pacific islanders
- peace celebrations
- margaret cruickshank
- cook islands
- narrow neck camp
- pioneer battalion
- palestine campaign
- sinai campaign
- public service
- robert makgill
- mau movement
- maori health
- helen clark
- william trethewey
- war objects
- richard riddiford
- battle of the somme
- wellington city
- six oclock swill
- new plymouth