7 Nov 2018

NZ announces support for Samoan nursing centre

3:48 pm on 7 November 2018

New Zealand has announced support for a memorial and the refurbishment of a nurses' training centre to mark the centenary of the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic reaching Samoa's shores.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters speaks to NZ media on arrival in Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum.

Winston Peters Photo: New Zealand Herald/Jason Oxenham

One-hundred years ago the New Zealand passenger ship Talune arrived in Apia, with flu infected passengers on board.

Within two months, about 8,500 Samoans were dead.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the consequences of Talune arrival were devastating.

Mr Peters has acknowledged that almost all Samoans were impacted in some way.

He said the New Zealand government joins Samoa in marking the centenary and has committed $US1.35 million towards the refurbishment of a nurses' training facility as part of their support.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi addressed a government service in Apia today by saying there was no intention to shame and apportion blame as that would not compensate for any life lost.

Tuilaepa said the day marked a celebration of life and how Samoa has emerged from the darkness of their vulnerability.