Māori influenza pandemic memorial

This carved wooden Māori cenotaph was erected at Te Kōura marae in memory of those who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The cenotaph was designed and carved by Tene Waitere of Ngāti Tarāwhai. He also created a similar cenotaph at Te Ihingarangi marae, Waimiha. This photograph was taken in 1920 by Albert Percy Godber.

Historian Geoffrey Rice suggests that higher death rates among Māori (about eight times that of Pākehā) may be attributed to their isolation from ‘the normal circulation of colds and minor respiratory ailments’, as Māori were then a largely rural population. He also suggests that ‘lower standards of housing, clothing and nourishment’ amongst Māori communities put them at greater risk.

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