A tragic chapter of Samoan and New Zealand history is explored in this Coconet TV documentary. Nearly a quarter of Samoa's population was killed in one month in 1918, after flu sufferers were allowed to disembark the ship Talune in Apia. New Zealand was heavily criticised for not quarantining the vessel. This excerpt shows how the deadly virus spread around the world, killing a third of the population, and explores Aotearoa's colonial interests in Samoa. Interviewees include Oscar Kightley and ex Samoan head of state Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta'isi Efi.
According to a 1947 United Nations report, it ranked as ‘one of the most disastrous epidemics recorded anywhere in the world during the present century, so far as the proportion of deaths to the population is concerned’.– NZ History page on the 1918 influenza epidemic in Samoa
Made with funding from NZ On Air