One hundred years the deadly impact of Spanish flu in New Zealand has prompted warnings of the risk of other flu pandemics remaining high.
The main penetration of Spanish flu occurred between October and December 1918, with New Zealand losing half of the number of people in a few months as it did during World War I. That killed 50 million people worldwide and 9,000 in New Zealand.
Professor Geoff Rice attended the ceremony in Wellington at the weekend to mark 100 years since the worst public health disaster in the country.
The researchers say the risk of other flu pandemics remains high and if the same lethal infection afflicts New Zealand today, we can expect more than 30,000 deaths.
In 1918 cities like Wellington stopped. Chairs were moved from the town hall to provide beds because they were converted into temporary hospitals. Death happened so fast that local mail trucks, and even the mayor's car, were used to transport bodies to the Karori cemetery.
The ceasefire in November 2018 only contributed to the spread of transmission, when people gathered to celebrate the end of a long war.
The world has been experiencing fears recently including in 1997 with Hong Kong bird flu and 2009 with Mexican swine flu.
Nine new flu strains have appeared in humans since 2000. The main lesson from the Spanish flu is not being complacent, Rice said.