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Wed 3 Oct 2018, 12:10pm–1:00pm

Where: National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Please join us at lunchtime on Wednesday 3rd October for a Public History talk convened by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the National Library of New Zealand.

One hundred years ago in October 1918 the SS Talune was permitted to leave Auckland bound for Fiji and Polynesia even though the ship's master knew that influenza was rife in the city and that there were sick on board ship when it left port. The state of the ship was also known prior to her arrival in many of her destination ports.

Within eight weeks of berthing at Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga, at least 5% of Fijians, 7% of Tongans and one-quarter of Western Samoa's population had died of influenza. Ryan McLane will discuss how and why this tragedy occurred.

About the speaker: Ryan McLane has managed a public health unit in the Alaskan arctic; lead a clinical team in an Ebola Treatment Unit in Sierra Leone; and provided direct care for populations as diverse as indigenous Siberians, undocumented agricultural workers in California, populations impacted by cyclones in the Pacific, and civilians caught in civil conflict in Guatemala.

In New Zealand he has worked with the Ministry of Health, the Southern District Health Board and the University of Otago Medical School. His PhD with the University of Otago focused upon the 1918 influenza pandemic in the Samoas, Tonga, and Fiji.

Where and when: Wednesday 3rd October at lunchtime 12.10pm to 1.00pm. Come to Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library Building, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington.

These free public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Most are recorded and will be available online at:

Image courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 755-Album-17-42

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