14 November 2005
Pandemic preparedness subject of second ‘Outside the Square’ lecture
Lessons drawn from Christchurch’s experience of the 1918 influenza pandemic will be the focus of the second ‘Outside the
Square’ lecture, to be delivered by Associate Professor Geoffrey Rice later this month.
The lecture titled How did Christchurch cope with the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? is the second in a series initiated by
the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council last year.
The inaugural lecture was presented by University of Canterbury Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori) Sir Tipene O’Regan and
was a consideration of New Zealand’s contemporary race relations discourse.
This year the Canterbury History Foundation joins the University and the Council in hosting the lecture which is part of
an annual series designed to feature prominent speakers addressing a range of issues of major importance to
Geoffrey Rice is an Associate Professor in the School of History at the University of Canterbury, a Fellow of the Royal
Historical Society, London, and secretary of the Canterbury Historical Association.
Though his teaching has been confined to European history, his recent publications have been mostly in New Zealand
history. His latest publication is an updated and expanded second edition of his first academic monograph, Black
November: the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand (Canterbury University Press, 2005).
Based on extensive archival, oral and statistical research, this was the world’s first book on the 1918 pandemic to make
comprehensive use of individual death certificate data for a whole country.
“This book is being published at a time of heightened international anxiety about the risk of another flu pandemic, from
the H5N1 Asian bird flu. Facing a potential global pandemic naturally raises the questions: ‘How will we cope?’ and ‘How
did we cope last time?’” says Professor Rice.
His lecture, based on his research for the book, will focus on Christchurch’s experience of the 1918 influenza pandemic.
He will consider what lessons may be drawn from that experience to assist in combating a future influenza pandemic or
similar “disease-disaster” here.
Mayor Garry Moore will also make some comments following the lecture, outlining pandemic planning currently under way in
Christchurch, and how various agencies are working together to prepare for any future outbreak.
The free public lecture will be delivered on Tuesday 29 November 2005 at 5.30pm in the James Hay Theatre, Christchurch