Wellington Scoop

PM visits Karori graves from 1918 influenza pandemic

crosses in karori cemetery
Photo via Facebook from Friends of Karori Cemetery

The Prime Minister visited the Karori Cemetery today, to inspect the graves of people who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. The Friends of Karori Cemetery, who organised her visit, said that the 1918 pandemic is more relevant today than ever.

Statement from Jacinda Ardern on Facebook
My mother is a genealogist, someone with a deep love of family history and finding lost relatives. I’m grateful to all those who have a passion for keeping stories and memories alive. That’s what the friends of Karori Cemetery have done with the project I visited today.

The crosses you can see in this image (above) mark the final resting place of people who died in the influenza pandemic of 1918. They stretch up and down rows of the cemetery.

What stood out for me wasn’t just the number, but how young people were.

Barbara Mulligan, who has been instrumental in this project, told me that in one day alone more than 60 people were buried. In total, it’s said New Zealand lost almost 9000 people in just a few short months.

These are moments in our history that are so deeply sad, but also so important to remember and learn from. Thank you so much to those who work so hard as volunteers to make that possible.