History of 1918 influenza victims recalled

  • 13/11/2016
Members of the Red Cross Motor Corps, all wearing masks against the further spread of the influenza epidemic, carry a patient on a stretcher into their ambulance, Saint Louis, Missouri, October 1918 (Getty)
Members of the Red Cross Motor Corps, all wearing masks against the further spread of the influenza epidemic, carry a patient on a stretcher into their ambulance, Saint Louis, Missouri, October 1918 (Getty)

New Zealanders will be able to discover more about those who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic because of a research and clean-up drive at Wellington's Karori Cemetery.

The cemetery contains the remains of at least 720 people who died in the pandemic with Wellington's council hoping to tell their stories by organising working bees to clean graves sites and research into the lives of at least 75 of the victims.

The historic research conducted by genealogists will then be placed on a community website.

"We'd [also] love to find living relatives who would be keen to help out with our research," says project co-ordinator Barbara Mulligan.

"In return, they might discover some fascinating family history, which we can sometimes help contextualise by providing additional information on occupations, war service and number of family members affected."

The 1918 influenza pandemic was an especially lethal outbreak, causing the death of about 8600 people around the country.

This was about half the total of New Zealanders killed during the entire First World War.

NZN

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