More than 650 people succumbed to influenza in the Wellington region during November and December 1918, and were buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand. Their graves are mostly untended and more or less lost from the collective memory. This 2-year project, which began in November 2016, intends to restore and remember those who died, cleaning and tidying their plots, cleaning their headstones, and researching the family histories.
Click here to view a written overview of the project, the influenza epidemic and Karori Cemetery.
Click here to listen to a radio documentary about the project by Lynn Freeman of RNZ’s Standing Room Only.
Click here to listen to a radio documentary about Laura Spinney’s latest book “Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed The World” by Kim Hill of RNZ’s Saturday Morning.
Physical cleaning of the graves:
The work is being done by community volunteers, in working bees for 2-hours each month, in association with the cemetery management and staff, and with the agreement and support of the Wellington City Council, owners of the cemetery. Visit the working bees page for more details.
If you would like to help research the people remembered on this website please get in contact. You can be based anywhere in the world.
We were a finalist in the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards 2017. The awards recognise the valuable contribution of volunteers to community groups across the Wellington Region, across five categories – Art & Culture, Education & Child Youth Development, Health & Wellbeing, Heritage & Environment and Sport & Leisure.
We are very proud of the combined efforts of our volunteers, project partners and supporters. For more information click here