View Article PDF

New Zealand has had a problem with insufficient pandemic planning, as indicated by its low score on a validated1 Global Health Security Index in 2019.2 This inadequate planning probably meant that the country needed to have a national lockdown to successfully control COVID-19, in contrast to a very well-prepared jurisdiction such as Taiwan (which achieved elimination of COVID-19 without needing a lockdown).3 This planning deficit is even more notable when considering that New Zealand may be the second-most-optimal island refuge for humanity in the case of a pandemic that threatens human extinction.4

Memorialisation of past pandemic disasters may serve as a visual public reminder of persisting pandemic threats and the need to invest in prevention and pandemic planning (as argued previously).5 With this in mind, we aimed to provide a best current estimate of the number of physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand. This pandemic killed an estimated 9,000 New Zealanders,6,7 and, at its peak, an estimated 440 people died in a single day, equivalent to 1,820 deaths in today’s numbers (Figure 1). We also aimed to extend a previous analysis5 to include the 2018 centennial year to see whether that anniversary had generated additional interest in memorialising this event.

Figure 1: Photograph of 440 students at Wellington College symbolically representing the worst day for deaths from the 1918 pandemic in New Zealand (photo by Luke Pilkinton-Ching, University of Otago, Wellington, 2018).8

Methods

We followed the methods of a previous New Zealand survey5 with the same definition of a pandemic-related memorial. We conducted internet searches for new memorials (the last search was on 8 August 2020), along with field research for all the new memorials we identified. Field visits were conducted between December 2018 and August 2020.

Results

A national memorial was identified, the first such national-level memorial for this pandemic created in New Zealand (Table 1). In addition, four new local memorials were identified: two in Christchurch, one in Waimate and one in New Plymouth.

Table 1: Identified physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand.

Discussion

This survey now brings the total number of publicly accessible memorials that refer to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand to 12, which includes one new national memorial. Worldwide, it appears very rare to have a national memorial to the 1918 influenza pandemic. In addition to this new one in New Zealand, we only identified one other national memorial, which was in Samoa.11 However, there are a few memorials to specific groups (eg, the Lueg Monument in Switzerland to Bern cavalrymen who died in the pandemic).12

The relative lack of memorials to the 1918 pandemic contrasts markedly with the high prevalence of war memorials in the New Zealand setting. That is, there are now 1.3 publicly accessible pandemic memorials per 1,000 deaths, in contrast to 31 memorials per 1,000 deaths for World War I and World War II combined and 213 memorials per 1,000 deaths for the South African War.5 Internationally, the lack of memorialisation of past pandemics has also been noted.13

The national war memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington also has qualitative differences compared to the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic: it completely dwarfs the scale of the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic, which is in a corner of this same national war memorial site. Similarly, the memorial to the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 that caused 185 deaths (a photo of which is in another New Zealand disaster memorial study)14 is vastly greater in scale than the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic. Continuing the same pattern, Auckland Council has recently announced approval for a large, multi-million-dollar national Erebus memorial to be built in a Parnell park to commemorate the 257 people who were killed when an Air New Zealand plane crashed into Mount Erebus in 1979.15

Nevertheless, it may be desirable to move away from the conventional idea of the physical memorial, as argued for previously in New Zealand, and towards a research fund as a ‘living memorial’.8 Such alternatives are also being considered internationally (eg, various digital projects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic).13

In summary, we identified an additional five memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic, bringing the total number of publicly accessible memorials to 12. Nevertheless, New Zealand needs to further consider how it memorialises past pandemics—and to make better use of such memorials to constantly remind the public and the government to invest adequately in pandemic prevention and pandemic planning.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Nick Wilson: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Geoffrey Rice: Emeritus Professor, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. George Thomson: Associate Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Michael G Baker: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago, Mein St, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand. 64+ (4) 021 2045523

Correspondence Email

nick.wilson@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

1. Boyd MJ, Wilson N, Nelson C. Validation analysis of Global Health Security Index (GHSI) scores 2019. BMJ Glob Health 2020;5.

2. Boyd M, Baker MG, Nelson C, Wilson N. The 2019 Global Health Security Index (GHSI) and its implications for New Zealand and Pacific regional health security. N Z Med J 2020;133:83-92.

3. Summers J, Lin H-H, Cheng H-Y, Telfar Barnard L, Kvalsvig A, Wilson N, Baker M. Potential lessons from the Taiwan and New Zealand health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific 2020; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100044.

4. Boyd M, Wilson N. The Prioritization of Island Nations as Refuges from Extreme Pandemics. Risk Anal 2020;40:227-39.

5. Wilson N, Ferguson C, Rice G, Baker MG, Schrader B, Clement C, Thomson G. Remembering the 1918 influenza pandemic: national survey of memorials and scope for enhancing educational value around pandemic preparedness. N Z Med J 2017;130:53-70.

6. Rice GW. Black Flu 1918: The Story of New Zealand's Worst Public Health Disaster. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2017.

7. Summers JA, Baker M, Wilson N. New Zealand's experience of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic: a systematic review after 100 years. N Z Med J 2018;131:54-69.

8. University of Otago. Call for pandemic research fund as “living memorial” to 1918 flu victims. University of Otago Media Release 2018;(14 December). https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago701754.html.

9. Manch T. Influenza pandemic that killed 9000 memorialised in Wellington. Stuff 2019;(6 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117209806/influenza-pandemic-that-killed-9000-memorialised-in-wellington.

10. Groenestein C. Forgotten 1918 flu victims now have a memorial in New Plymouth cemetery. Stuff 2018(10 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/108506823/forgotten-1918-flu-victims-now-have-a-memorial-in-new-plymouth-cemetery.

11. Radio New Zealand. Remembering the lives lost in the influenza epidemic in Samoa. Radio New Zealand (24 August 2019). https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/397372/remembering-the-lives-lost-in-the-influenza-epidemic-in-samoa.

12. Whitmarsh A. Swiss memorials of the First World War. 2015;(5 November). http://www.switzerland1914-1918.net/blog/swiss-memorials-of-the-first-world-war.

13. Shoot B. The rare challenge of building a pandemic memorial. City Monitor 2020;(9 June, updated 19 October). https://citymonitor.ai/community/the-rare-challenge-of-building-a-pandemic-memorial.

14. Wilson N, Jones AC, Rice G, Thomson G. Epidemiology of major disasters in New Zealand as revealed by disaster memorials. N Z Med J 2019;132:104-07.

15. Auckland Council. Local board gives approval for national Erebus Memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park. Auckland Council 2020;(17 November). https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2020/11/local-board-gives-approval-for-national-erebus-memorial-in-dove-myer-robinson-park/.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

New Zealand has had a problem with insufficient pandemic planning, as indicated by its low score on a validated1 Global Health Security Index in 2019.2 This inadequate planning probably meant that the country needed to have a national lockdown to successfully control COVID-19, in contrast to a very well-prepared jurisdiction such as Taiwan (which achieved elimination of COVID-19 without needing a lockdown).3 This planning deficit is even more notable when considering that New Zealand may be the second-most-optimal island refuge for humanity in the case of a pandemic that threatens human extinction.4

Memorialisation of past pandemic disasters may serve as a visual public reminder of persisting pandemic threats and the need to invest in prevention and pandemic planning (as argued previously).5 With this in mind, we aimed to provide a best current estimate of the number of physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand. This pandemic killed an estimated 9,000 New Zealanders,6,7 and, at its peak, an estimated 440 people died in a single day, equivalent to 1,820 deaths in today’s numbers (Figure 1). We also aimed to extend a previous analysis5 to include the 2018 centennial year to see whether that anniversary had generated additional interest in memorialising this event.

Figure 1: Photograph of 440 students at Wellington College symbolically representing the worst day for deaths from the 1918 pandemic in New Zealand (photo by Luke Pilkinton-Ching, University of Otago, Wellington, 2018).8

Methods

We followed the methods of a previous New Zealand survey5 with the same definition of a pandemic-related memorial. We conducted internet searches for new memorials (the last search was on 8 August 2020), along with field research for all the new memorials we identified. Field visits were conducted between December 2018 and August 2020.

Results

A national memorial was identified, the first such national-level memorial for this pandemic created in New Zealand (Table 1). In addition, four new local memorials were identified: two in Christchurch, one in Waimate and one in New Plymouth.

Table 1: Identified physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand.

Discussion

This survey now brings the total number of publicly accessible memorials that refer to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand to 12, which includes one new national memorial. Worldwide, it appears very rare to have a national memorial to the 1918 influenza pandemic. In addition to this new one in New Zealand, we only identified one other national memorial, which was in Samoa.11 However, there are a few memorials to specific groups (eg, the Lueg Monument in Switzerland to Bern cavalrymen who died in the pandemic).12

The relative lack of memorials to the 1918 pandemic contrasts markedly with the high prevalence of war memorials in the New Zealand setting. That is, there are now 1.3 publicly accessible pandemic memorials per 1,000 deaths, in contrast to 31 memorials per 1,000 deaths for World War I and World War II combined and 213 memorials per 1,000 deaths for the South African War.5 Internationally, the lack of memorialisation of past pandemics has also been noted.13

The national war memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington also has qualitative differences compared to the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic: it completely dwarfs the scale of the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic, which is in a corner of this same national war memorial site. Similarly, the memorial to the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 that caused 185 deaths (a photo of which is in another New Zealand disaster memorial study)14 is vastly greater in scale than the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic. Continuing the same pattern, Auckland Council has recently announced approval for a large, multi-million-dollar national Erebus memorial to be built in a Parnell park to commemorate the 257 people who were killed when an Air New Zealand plane crashed into Mount Erebus in 1979.15

Nevertheless, it may be desirable to move away from the conventional idea of the physical memorial, as argued for previously in New Zealand, and towards a research fund as a ‘living memorial’.8 Such alternatives are also being considered internationally (eg, various digital projects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic).13

In summary, we identified an additional five memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic, bringing the total number of publicly accessible memorials to 12. Nevertheless, New Zealand needs to further consider how it memorialises past pandemics—and to make better use of such memorials to constantly remind the public and the government to invest adequately in pandemic prevention and pandemic planning.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Nick Wilson: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Geoffrey Rice: Emeritus Professor, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. George Thomson: Associate Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Michael G Baker: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago, Mein St, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand. 64+ (4) 021 2045523

Correspondence Email

nick.wilson@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

1. Boyd MJ, Wilson N, Nelson C. Validation analysis of Global Health Security Index (GHSI) scores 2019. BMJ Glob Health 2020;5.

2. Boyd M, Baker MG, Nelson C, Wilson N. The 2019 Global Health Security Index (GHSI) and its implications for New Zealand and Pacific regional health security. N Z Med J 2020;133:83-92.

3. Summers J, Lin H-H, Cheng H-Y, Telfar Barnard L, Kvalsvig A, Wilson N, Baker M. Potential lessons from the Taiwan and New Zealand health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific 2020; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100044.

4. Boyd M, Wilson N. The Prioritization of Island Nations as Refuges from Extreme Pandemics. Risk Anal 2020;40:227-39.

5. Wilson N, Ferguson C, Rice G, Baker MG, Schrader B, Clement C, Thomson G. Remembering the 1918 influenza pandemic: national survey of memorials and scope for enhancing educational value around pandemic preparedness. N Z Med J 2017;130:53-70.

6. Rice GW. Black Flu 1918: The Story of New Zealand's Worst Public Health Disaster. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2017.

7. Summers JA, Baker M, Wilson N. New Zealand's experience of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic: a systematic review after 100 years. N Z Med J 2018;131:54-69.

8. University of Otago. Call for pandemic research fund as “living memorial” to 1918 flu victims. University of Otago Media Release 2018;(14 December). https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago701754.html.

9. Manch T. Influenza pandemic that killed 9000 memorialised in Wellington. Stuff 2019;(6 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117209806/influenza-pandemic-that-killed-9000-memorialised-in-wellington.

10. Groenestein C. Forgotten 1918 flu victims now have a memorial in New Plymouth cemetery. Stuff 2018(10 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/108506823/forgotten-1918-flu-victims-now-have-a-memorial-in-new-plymouth-cemetery.

11. Radio New Zealand. Remembering the lives lost in the influenza epidemic in Samoa. Radio New Zealand (24 August 2019). https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/397372/remembering-the-lives-lost-in-the-influenza-epidemic-in-samoa.

12. Whitmarsh A. Swiss memorials of the First World War. 2015;(5 November). http://www.switzerland1914-1918.net/blog/swiss-memorials-of-the-first-world-war.

13. Shoot B. The rare challenge of building a pandemic memorial. City Monitor 2020;(9 June, updated 19 October). https://citymonitor.ai/community/the-rare-challenge-of-building-a-pandemic-memorial.

14. Wilson N, Jones AC, Rice G, Thomson G. Epidemiology of major disasters in New Zealand as revealed by disaster memorials. N Z Med J 2019;132:104-07.

15. Auckland Council. Local board gives approval for national Erebus Memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park. Auckland Council 2020;(17 November). https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2020/11/local-board-gives-approval-for-national-erebus-memorial-in-dove-myer-robinson-park/.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

New Zealand has had a problem with insufficient pandemic planning, as indicated by its low score on a validated1 Global Health Security Index in 2019.2 This inadequate planning probably meant that the country needed to have a national lockdown to successfully control COVID-19, in contrast to a very well-prepared jurisdiction such as Taiwan (which achieved elimination of COVID-19 without needing a lockdown).3 This planning deficit is even more notable when considering that New Zealand may be the second-most-optimal island refuge for humanity in the case of a pandemic that threatens human extinction.4

Memorialisation of past pandemic disasters may serve as a visual public reminder of persisting pandemic threats and the need to invest in prevention and pandemic planning (as argued previously).5 With this in mind, we aimed to provide a best current estimate of the number of physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand. This pandemic killed an estimated 9,000 New Zealanders,6,7 and, at its peak, an estimated 440 people died in a single day, equivalent to 1,820 deaths in today’s numbers (Figure 1). We also aimed to extend a previous analysis5 to include the 2018 centennial year to see whether that anniversary had generated additional interest in memorialising this event.

Figure 1: Photograph of 440 students at Wellington College symbolically representing the worst day for deaths from the 1918 pandemic in New Zealand (photo by Luke Pilkinton-Ching, University of Otago, Wellington, 2018).8

Methods

We followed the methods of a previous New Zealand survey5 with the same definition of a pandemic-related memorial. We conducted internet searches for new memorials (the last search was on 8 August 2020), along with field research for all the new memorials we identified. Field visits were conducted between December 2018 and August 2020.

Results

A national memorial was identified, the first such national-level memorial for this pandemic created in New Zealand (Table 1). In addition, four new local memorials were identified: two in Christchurch, one in Waimate and one in New Plymouth.

Table 1: Identified physical memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand.

Discussion

This survey now brings the total number of publicly accessible memorials that refer to the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand to 12, which includes one new national memorial. Worldwide, it appears very rare to have a national memorial to the 1918 influenza pandemic. In addition to this new one in New Zealand, we only identified one other national memorial, which was in Samoa.11 However, there are a few memorials to specific groups (eg, the Lueg Monument in Switzerland to Bern cavalrymen who died in the pandemic).12

The relative lack of memorials to the 1918 pandemic contrasts markedly with the high prevalence of war memorials in the New Zealand setting. That is, there are now 1.3 publicly accessible pandemic memorials per 1,000 deaths, in contrast to 31 memorials per 1,000 deaths for World War I and World War II combined and 213 memorials per 1,000 deaths for the South African War.5 Internationally, the lack of memorialisation of past pandemics has also been noted.13

The national war memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington also has qualitative differences compared to the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic: it completely dwarfs the scale of the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic, which is in a corner of this same national war memorial site. Similarly, the memorial to the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 that caused 185 deaths (a photo of which is in another New Zealand disaster memorial study)14 is vastly greater in scale than the national memorial to the 1918 pandemic. Continuing the same pattern, Auckland Council has recently announced approval for a large, multi-million-dollar national Erebus memorial to be built in a Parnell park to commemorate the 257 people who were killed when an Air New Zealand plane crashed into Mount Erebus in 1979.15

Nevertheless, it may be desirable to move away from the conventional idea of the physical memorial, as argued for previously in New Zealand, and towards a research fund as a ‘living memorial’.8 Such alternatives are also being considered internationally (eg, various digital projects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic).13

In summary, we identified an additional five memorials to the 1918 influenza pandemic, bringing the total number of publicly accessible memorials to 12. Nevertheless, New Zealand needs to further consider how it memorialises past pandemics—and to make better use of such memorials to constantly remind the public and the government to invest adequately in pandemic prevention and pandemic planning.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Nick Wilson: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Geoffrey Rice: Emeritus Professor, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. George Thomson: Associate Professor, University of Otago, Wellington. Michael G Baker: Professor, University of Otago, Wellington.

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Professor Nick Wilson, University of Otago, Mein St, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand. 64+ (4) 021 2045523

Correspondence Email

nick.wilson@otago.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

1. Boyd MJ, Wilson N, Nelson C. Validation analysis of Global Health Security Index (GHSI) scores 2019. BMJ Glob Health 2020;5.

2. Boyd M, Baker MG, Nelson C, Wilson N. The 2019 Global Health Security Index (GHSI) and its implications for New Zealand and Pacific regional health security. N Z Med J 2020;133:83-92.

3. Summers J, Lin H-H, Cheng H-Y, Telfar Barnard L, Kvalsvig A, Wilson N, Baker M. Potential lessons from the Taiwan and New Zealand health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Regional Health Western Pacific 2020; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2020.100044.

4. Boyd M, Wilson N. The Prioritization of Island Nations as Refuges from Extreme Pandemics. Risk Anal 2020;40:227-39.

5. Wilson N, Ferguson C, Rice G, Baker MG, Schrader B, Clement C, Thomson G. Remembering the 1918 influenza pandemic: national survey of memorials and scope for enhancing educational value around pandemic preparedness. N Z Med J 2017;130:53-70.

6. Rice GW. Black Flu 1918: The Story of New Zealand's Worst Public Health Disaster. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2017.

7. Summers JA, Baker M, Wilson N. New Zealand's experience of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic: a systematic review after 100 years. N Z Med J 2018;131:54-69.

8. University of Otago. Call for pandemic research fund as “living memorial” to 1918 flu victims. University of Otago Media Release 2018;(14 December). https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago701754.html.

9. Manch T. Influenza pandemic that killed 9000 memorialised in Wellington. Stuff 2019;(6 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/117209806/influenza-pandemic-that-killed-9000-memorialised-in-wellington.

10. Groenestein C. Forgotten 1918 flu victims now have a memorial in New Plymouth cemetery. Stuff 2018(10 November). https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/health/108506823/forgotten-1918-flu-victims-now-have-a-memorial-in-new-plymouth-cemetery.

11. Radio New Zealand. Remembering the lives lost in the influenza epidemic in Samoa. Radio New Zealand (24 August 2019). https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/397372/remembering-the-lives-lost-in-the-influenza-epidemic-in-samoa.

12. Whitmarsh A. Swiss memorials of the First World War. 2015;(5 November). http://www.switzerland1914-1918.net/blog/swiss-memorials-of-the-first-world-war.

13. Shoot B. The rare challenge of building a pandemic memorial. City Monitor 2020;(9 June, updated 19 October). https://citymonitor.ai/community/the-rare-challenge-of-building-a-pandemic-memorial.

14. Wilson N, Jones AC, Rice G, Thomson G. Epidemiology of major disasters in New Zealand as revealed by disaster memorials. N Z Med J 2019;132:104-07.

15. Auckland Council. Local board gives approval for national Erebus Memorial in Dove-Myer Robinson Park. Auckland Council 2020;(17 November). https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2020/11/local-board-gives-approval-for-national-erebus-memorial-in-dove-myer-robinson-park/.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

Subscriber Content

The full contents of this pages only available to subscribers.

LOGINSUBSCRIBE