Nightcaps and the influenza pandemic

Nightcaps and the influenza pandemic

Nightcaps and Wairio in Western Southland suffered one of the highest non-Māori death rates in the country during the 1918 influenza pandemic – 45.9 per 1000 people. Down the road at Riverton the rate was 16.2, and Nightcaps' death rate was about five times that of Southland as a whole.

Influenza historian Geoffrey Rice suggests that the high death rate at Nightcaps may be explained by a combination of high morbidity, perhaps as high as 90%, and lack of effective relief organisation. As in many Māori communities, so many people fell ill with influenza, or were nursing people in their own household, that there was no one available to organise relief efforts.

Community contributions

2 comments have been posted about Nightcaps and the influenza pandemic

What do you know?

Vanya Bailey

Posted: 13 Jan 2018

I'm a journalist living in Nightcaps and I want to create a project focusing on the terrible effect of the pandemic here. I'd love to hear from anyone who has photos, news clippings, family stories or artefacts to do with Nightcaps.
Vanya Bailey

Alanna Barrett

Posted: 02 Oct 2014

The High death rate in these two towns was due to the use of the local coal/ Lignite.This heavy metal Lignite was dug up again in 2009-2011.And has had the same effect on this community again. Yes we have gone back to the 1800's in New Zealand as councils now issue permits with "No consideration of Green house Gas emissions is to be considered for the development of Non- Renewable energy.