influenza pandemic

Events In History


The 1918 influenza pandemic

Armistice Day

  • Armistice Day

    After four terrible years, fighting in the First World War finally ended with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allies 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.

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  • Page 2 – Pre-Armistice Day surrenders

    From 1 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 celebrations, particularly in Auckland.

  • Page 7 – New Zealand in 1918

    Some facts and stats about New Zealand in the year the First World War ended

New Zealand in Samoa

  • New Zealand in Samoa

    New Zealand was ill-equipped to cope with the Western Samoa mandate it was 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.

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  • 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'.

Comparing pandemics

  • Comparing pandemics

    MCH Senior Historian Elizabeth Cox has been pondering the similarities and differences in New Zealand’s response to the 1918 flu pandemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Here are some of her preliminary thoughts.

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  • Page 2 – Activities: Comparing pandemics

    Looking at our experiences of two pandemics a century apart provides an ideal opportunity to explore a number of important historical thinking concepts that those of you

1919 peace celebrations

  • 1919 peace celebrations

    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.

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  • 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

Pacific Islanders in the NZEF

  • Pacific Islanders in the NZEF

    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.

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  • Page 4 – Fijian and Gilbert Island Contingents

    Information about 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.

Pacific aftermath

  • Pacific aftermath

    Participation in the First World War changed Pacific Islanders' lives. Returning servicemen had seen the world.

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  • Page 3 - Troop repatriationWhen the armistice was signed in November 1918, Pacific island troops in New Zealand service were stationed in a number of

Capture of German Samoa

  • Capture of German Samoa

    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.

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  • 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

NZ Railways at war

  • NZ Railways at war

    The railway system and its workforce was one of the most valuable assets available to the New Zealand state to support the national effort during the First World War

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  • Page 5 - Manpower challenges at homeHow did New Zealand Railways (NZR) keep up its massive manpower commitments during the First World War, while still maintaining services to its


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Logan, Robert

    Robert Logan ran the military administration of German Samoa on behalf of Britain during the First World War.