Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced support for a memorial and the refurbishment of the nurses’ training centre to mark the centenary of the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic reaching Samoa’s shores.
“One hundred years ago the New Zealand passenger ship Talune arrived in Apia, with flu infected passengers on board. The consequences of that arrival were devastating,” Mr Peters said.
“We acknowledge that almost all Samoan families were impacted in some way by the epidemic and we respectfully join with Samoa to mark the centenary today as National Health Day.
“The day also celebrates Samoa’s nurses. We are signalling our ongoing support for health care services in Samoa with $2 million towards the refurbishment of a nurses’ training facility near the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital.
“The nurses’ training centre supports Samoa’s plan to reintroduce a community health model whereby trained teams go out to the villages to provide primary health care,” he said.
“New Zealand is also supporting the repair and redevelopment of a site in Vaimoso cemetery, near Apia, which will be a national memorial to the Influenza epidemic,” Mr Peters said.
The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa is representing the government at commemoration services in Apia today.