Eva Elizabeth Griffin     (1902 - 1918)

Eva died in the Influenza Epidemic hat devastated the country in 1918

Hawera & Normanby Star, 27 November 1918
POSITION IN HAWERA. The position continues to show a marked improvement, and there is every indication that health fighters have the visitation now well in hand. All the reports from the house to house visitors are distinctly encouraging. This applies to the town. There are yet some serious cases in the isolation hospital since yesterday there were three deaths reported in this hospital. Alfred Ryan, aged 33, married laborer employed by the Post and Telegraph Department ' Charles Frederick West, aged 42 married, Hawera County Council employee. Eva Griffin, aged 16, daughter of Mrs Griffin, Inaha. The mother is also ill in the hospital, and the father is believed to be a prisoner of war in Germany. To date there "have been 142 admissions to the temporary isolation hospital, and 24 deaths. At present there are 39 patients in the institution. Dr. Thomson arrived from the camp last night to assist the local medical men. The mortality amongst the Maoris has been particularly heavy, and some families have suffered very sadly. One well-known Maori lost his wife and three children

Hawera & Normanby Star, 6 January 1919 - THANKS.
MRS. GRIFFIN and family, of Inaha, wish to thank the Doctors, Nurses, the Red Cross, and the Milkers who so kindly helped them during the Epidemic, also the friends who sympathised with them in their recent sad bereavement.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 26 November 1919: IN MEMORIAM.

GRIFFIN: In sad but loving memory of our dear daughter and sister, Eva Elizabeth Griffin, who died at Hawera of influenza on November 26th, 1918, at the age of 16 years. Days of sadness oft come o'er us, Hidden secret tears still flow; But memory keeps our loved one near us, Though she died one year ago. Inserted by her loving parents, sisters, and brothers
It was New Zealand's worst public health disaster, with more than 9000 deaths in about eight weeks. The misnamed "Spanish Flu" killed about 50 million people and infected hundreds of millions after it spread around the world in 1918-19. It killed almost three  times as many as World War I, which lasted for four years.
abt 1910

The pandemic was brought to New Zealand by soldiers returning from the war in Europe, especially to military training camps such as Trentham (77 deaths) and Featherston (3220 cases treated, 177 deaths). Returning home, they spread it throughout the country.

And like the 14th-century Black Death plague, many victims turned black. Death could occur within a day of contracting the disease, but usually it was 5-10 days. Towns and cities became virtual ghost towns as the flu reached it peak, with thousands suffering at home or in temporary hospitals. Public gatherings and tangi were prohibited in a bid to curb the spread of infection. Half New Zealand's population caught it.

Following  World War I, an influenza pandemic swept around the world. In two months New Zealand lost about half as many people to influenza as it had in the whole of the First World War. The war had killed 16,500 New Zealanders in four years. In just eight weeks, the flu wiped out 8600 - Lost just as many solders like Arthur arrived home

Scientists had not yet discovered viruses so there were no laboratory tests to diagnose, detect, or characterize flu viruses. Prevention and treatment methods for flu were limited. There were no vaccines to protect against flu virus infection, no antiviral drugs to treat flu illness, and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. Efforts to prevent the spread of disease were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including promotion of good personal hygiene, and implementation of isolation, quarantine, and closures of public settings, such as schools and theaters. Some cities imposed ordinances requiring face masks in public.

100 years later, we've come a long way in developing methods to track, prevent and treat flu, but there is still a long way to go.