caught my eye with this reference to Bibliodyssey,

a site devoted to rare old books and materia obscura, is one of my favorite blogs. Each page-load is like a peek into the most treasured recesses of an eccentric book-hoarder’s stash.

One of the interesting documents is this postcard, combining symbols of Aotearoa (the full moko or face tattoo, hei tiki of jade, feathers) and Britain (bulldog) for World War I.

Maori wardog WWI

WWI also brought together the world’s population with a new strain of influenza. The postcard above

comes from the interesting combined museum, library and cultural
Puke Ariki website in Taranaki in the north island of New Zealand.

The website is a wonderful example of making local history and heritage accessible. There are oral histories; links to books in the local library; photographs; related museum artifacts; etc. Viewers can contribute their own regional histories or comments on the existing materials. They have a section on dental nurses or dental health aide therapists (DHAT)

A career to get your teeth into – Betty Hammonds dental nurse By Sorrel Hoskin New Plymouth’s Betty Hammonds got into dental nursing … Read More
Child’s Play – Faye McDonald Dental Therapist
Open wide – dental nursing history

Their section on the 1918 pandemic is fascinating in pictures and text.

Taranaki Stories Science And Medicine
New Zealand’s first two Māori doctors hail from Taranaki. One trained in the United States, where he met a trail of remarkable people. The other studied at Otago, and later turned from medicine to ethnology. Both men were Māori health reformers, had stints in parliament and also became great leaders. In the future, we will cover a woman bush doctor before her time, a showman dentist, and an eccentric man who founded the Plunket Society. A healthy number of stories will be added to this section.” en/stories/scienceandmedicine/default.asp

How many of the pandemic responses worked then? How many would work today on the next pandemic? How many prevention and preparedness actions has your Village thought about? Have many has *everyone* practiced?


In Taranaki, 322 people died of the flu. Statistics reveal that most of those deaths occurred in the last three months of 1918, with 177 males and 120 females meeting their demise. The epidemic eased in 1919, with the flu killing 11 males and 14 females.

One of the worst-hit places was Inglewood, which recorded 772 cases. The situation was so bad that the Inglewood Record was forced to cease publication. It didn’t appear between 8 November and 11 December 1918.

When it returned, the newspaper printed a table of streets showing the households affected, listing cases of sick, recovering and dead. About four-fifths of the town’s 260 homes were touched by the illness. The final death toll for Inglewood was 24, four of whom were visitors.

Maori hit hardest

Maori in New Zealand were hit the hardest by the vicious virus….

Virus not really Spanish

The 1918 flu and its far-reaching fallout began in the United States. The first case occurred in Kansas on 11 March, when a soldier at the Fort Riley military camp reported symptoms, including a sore throat, headache and a fever.

Victory spreads virus

In his New Plymouth home, 101-year-old Robert McLeod tells how he lay waiting to die. He recalls how his body ached, his limbs went limp and he was too weak to walk.

A couple of days earlier Robert had been a healthy, active young man used to seeing other people drop like flaming fighter planes.

Like thousands of New Zealanders, Robert came crashing down with Spanish influenza. From the end of 1918 to the first few months of 1919, this deadly virus claimed the lives of 8600 Kiwis. It and remains the worst natural disaster in this country’s history – and the world….

“People fell dead in the streets; in many houses no one was left alive. All ordinary business came to a standstill; one just concentrated on keeping alive. Every person left untouched by the pestilence turned his hand to whatever task needed doing,” she writes.

“When it was all over, everyone who survived was exhausted; catching up for lost time made continued hard work for both teachers and students….”

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