The Death Ship: A Fateful Voyage


Between the October and December of 1918 New Zealand was struck by an influenza pandemic. In two short months approximately 9,000 New Zealanders died.

The origins of how it reached New Zealand have been debated but the agreed source was a ship or ships and the returning soldiers from WWI however this exhibition focuses on a ship heading the other way, HMNZT Tahiti as it transported members of the 40th Reinforcements from New Zealand to England, fatefully stopping in Freetown, Sierra Leone (Africa) where the flu had already taken hold and quickly spread amongst the troops earning Tahiti the name of the Death Ship.

This exhibition incorporates varying artefacts from the time, and personnel aboard, as well as an interactive stylised deck of a ship with ‘breakout’ rooms/spaces.