Anzac Day 2020: #Stand at Dawn


This Saturday the 25th of April, 2020 is ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day is the public holiday we have in New Zealand to honor those women and men both past and present who have served in the military services of our nation. Many did not return home so it only right that we remember them.

Anzac Day Crowd
A large crowd in the Strand, London on the first official Anzac Day in April 1916. (Getty Images)

ANZAC Day 2020 will be very strange indeed…because of the Covid 19 outbreak and subsequent lock-down this will be the first time since 1916 when there will be no public celebrations of the day anywhere in New Zealand or Australia.

The New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA), Australian Returned Service League (RSL) in concert with both local and national authorities are promoting an alternative to the usual Dawn Service.RSALogo

This commemoration is titled:  #Stand at Dawn- apart but together as one. 

At 0600 hours on Saturday the 25th April they would like all New Zealanders & Australians to stand at their letterbox, at the end of their driveway, in their front yard or in their lounge as a way to commemorate the day.RSL-ColourGoldprint-Official



A national remembrance service will be broadcast by Radio New Zealand online and on the radio for those who wish to listen in.

This will truly be in the spirit of the ANZAC tradition as this event will be happening in Australia with the exact same format.

Join myself and the many millions of other Australians and New Zealanders both at home and around the world who will Stand at Dawn this Saturday.


Lest we forget…..

Please note that as ANZAC Day falls in the weekend this year Ara Library will be closed on Monday the 27th April but will be back from 8 am on Tuesday the 28th.

Learning in Difficult Times: 10 MOOC for Library Staff Members

As of yesterday, all librarians across New Zealand are staying at home. It’s an unusual and unprecedented situation. I’m sure that a lot of librarians can keep working from home and have some projects for their libraries to develop.

But I also think that there are plenty of librarians whose primary role is customer service and they might not have too many projects that they could work on while spending the following weeks in self-isolation. For them but also for many others including me it’s a great time to work on our self-development.

Developing new skills is something we know that we should be doing. However, in our busy day-to-day library duties there is often not enough time to do so.

I’m bringing you a few tips on MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), with regard to which content could be useful in your library job. You might find that some of the courses below are not suited for your particular library role, but I don’t intend to provide an exhaustive list of the massive online open courses suitable for a librarian. I’d like you to get inspired to use the following weeks in a productive and positive way.

10 Online MOOC for Librarians

1. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

In this course you’ll learn how to learn. Learning and memory techniques, dealing with procrastination and many more. The course provides a good foundation for your future studies.

2. How To Create a Website in a Weekend! (Project-Centered Course)

Each library would benefit from having its own website or a blog. In this course you’ll learn how to do that in a way that is best suited for your needs. Not many MOOC are project-centered so take this opportunity while you can!

3. Copyright for Educators & Librarians

The course is focused on the problem of copyright in U.S. libraries. Even though it’s about U.S. copyright, it’s highly valuable as many sites like Wikipedia follows U.S. copyright law.

4. Search Education Online

This is an education course provided by Google. You can learn how to improve your Google search skills and how to become a more effective and faster fact finder. What else could be more essential in the Time of Google?

5. Excel Skills for Business Specialization

There is barely a more versatile and valuable skill than mastering Excel. Once you become an expert in Excel, you’ll be a valuable workmate in any office. The course is focused on its business use but what’s useful for business can surely be used in the library environment too.

6. Strategic Planning for Public Libraries

This is quite an essential MOOC for a variety of libraries. Explore methods of effective planning and its delivery. The course is provided by The University of Michigan.

7. Public Library Marketing and Public Relations

Learn how to develop effective marketing and PR strategies to help share your library’s programs, services, and value with the broader community.

8. Identifying Community Needs for Public Library Management

The course provides an overview on how to design research, surveys, and interviews. You can also learn how to analyse data to better assess the local wants and needs of a public library community.

9. Become a Data Analyst

This is a slightly more specialized course for librarians who work with data. You’ll learn how to use Python, SQL, and statistics for your data-drive library solutions.

10. Masterpieces of World Literature

This is a course for more “classic” librarians provided by Harvard University. From The Epic of Gilgamesh to Goethe.

Student Life: The Ara Tramping Club

Being a student is about hard work, striving to attain your goals and being your best possible self. But all work and no fun is a sure fire way to burn yourself out…even the most conscientious student needs to take a little down time to recharge those batteries.

Hard work is good but the body also needs emotional nourishment…

To that end there are a number of different clubs at Ara which cater to different interests. From sports clubs, cultural clubs to groups for social get togethers there are groups for everyone.

One activity that is personally close to my heart is tramping. Tramping is the word we use in New Zealand to describe hiking/walking trips into the outdoors. A tramp could range from a couple of hours walking to monster 10+ day expeditions to remote Wilderness Areas. There is no better way to experience New Zealand’s legendary scenic delights that by walking there on your own two feet.

Classic New Zealand tramping: sand beaches, swing-bridges and bush….

…..and mountain and stream…

Here at Ara we actually have a student tramping club which caters to this interest. The Ara Tramping Club was set up in 2019 by a group of students and aims to assist both the novice and the experienced back country trekker to find experience and companionship while outdoors.

Article about the Ara Tramping Club in the Feb/Mar edition of Waha Korero

There is a long history of club tramping in this country and it is an excellent way to find people with a similar interest in the outdoors. It also allows you to access the skills and experience more seasoned trampers have and is the best way to begin your introduction to this most excellent pursuit.

Photos of a 2019 Ara Tramping Club trip to Woolshed Creek, Mt Somers

There is a recent article in the Ara student magazine, Waha Korero (February/March 2020) about the Ara Tramping Club. It is well worth a read if you are looking to join a club to get outdoors. They are actively seeking members (both experienced and inexperienced) and would love to hear from you.

Port William Hut, Rakuira, backcountry huts are the focus of tramping in New Zealand


You can contact the club via email at or on Facebook @AraTramping. The club also advertises their regular planning meetings around the Campus. If you are a student, love the forests and hills and want to experience the essence of New Zealand then you should drop them a line.

I hope to see many of you out in the backcountry…

….may your lunches be dry, your huts empty and your wood sheds full….

100 years since the world wide Influenza Pandemic of 1918

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the great influenza pandemic of 1918. Some have called it the greatest pandemic in human history.

Between 50 and 100 million people are thought to have died, representing as much as 5 percent of the world’s population. Half a billion people or roughly one-third of the world’s population at the time were infected. India was the worst affected country with between 12-17 million deaths.

The National Memorial to Influenza victims in Waikumete cemetery, Auckland

In New Zealand about 9000 people died from the pandemic with 2700 deaths attributed to Influenza in the last two weeks of November 1918 alone. By way of comparison, around 18,000 New Zealanders died during the five years of World War One. Maori were particularly badly affected with whole communities decimated by the virus.

Ambulance at Wellington Town Hall during the pandemic, NZHistory

Especially remarkable was the 1918 flu’s predilection for taking the lives of otherwise healthy young adults, as opposed to children and the elderly, who usually suffer most. Over 60% of those who died were aged between 20 and 45 years of age.

With up to half of every nations population sick with the flu society virtually ground to a halt. So many were sick that government, public services and business closed, and all forms of public gathering were suspended.

Interesting facts about the pandemic:

The 1918 flu pandemic has been a regular subject of speculation over the last century. Historians and scientists have advanced numerous hypotheses regarding its origin, spread and consequences and there is still little consensus about all these aspects of the disaster. Here are some of the known facts:

  1. The pandemic did not originate in Spain

No one believes the so-called “Spanish flu” originated in Spain.

The pandemic likely acquired this nickname because of World War I, which was in full swing at the time. The major countries involved in the war were keen to avoid encouraging their enemies, so reports of the extent of the flu were suppressed in Germany, Austria, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

By contrast, neutral Spain had no need to keep the flu under wraps and reports of it were widely published. That created the false impression that Spain was the place of origin of the disease.


First mention of Spanish Flu in London newspaper

In fact, the geographic origin of the flu is debated to this day, though hypotheses have suggested East Asia, Europe and even Kansas. The most likely place of origin was in the massive military camps set up in Kansas, to train US servicemen for action in the First World War. The pandemic spread to Europe with those servicemen and thence to the rest of the world.

  1. The pandemic was not a  ‘super-virus’

The 1918 flu spread rapidly, killing 25 million people in just three months from October to December of 1918. This led some to fear the end of mankind, and has long fueled the supposition that the strain of influenza was particularly lethal.

However, more recent studies suggests that the virus itself, though more lethal than other strains, was not fundamentally different from those that caused epidemics in other years.

Much of the high death rate can be attributed to overcrowding; in the trenches of the Western Front, military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition, health care provision and sanitation, which all suffered during wartime.

Very few people died directly from the Influenza. Instead, it’s now thought that many of the deaths were due to the development of bacterial pneumonia in lungs weakened by influenza.

  1. There were three waves to the pandemic

The influenza pandemic of 1918 occurred in three waves; early in 1918, from October to December 1918 and early in 1919. The initial wave of deaths from influenza in the first half of 1918 was relatively low. The rate of death was similar to every other year as the flu is an annual visitor to most parts of the world.

It was in the second wave, from October through December of that year, that the highest death rates were observed. The peak month for deaths varied by country, in the United States 195 000 people died in the month of October alone. In New Zealand the peak was in mid to late November with a significant drop after the 23rd November 1918.

Map showing possible progression of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

A third wave of influenza in the spring of 1919 was more lethal than the first but less virulent than the second. This third wave tended to impact places like Australia, Africa and the remote islands in the Pacific who had escaped the worst of the two preceding waves.

Scientists now believe that the marked increase in deaths in the second wave was caused by a genetic mutation of the parent virus cultured within and then transmitted by the millions of soldiers on both sides of the war in Europe. Having so many people in a confined space is a well-known vector for communicable disease.

  1. The majority of those who caught the influenza survived

The vast majority of those people who contracted the 1918 flu survived. National death rates among the infected generally did not exceed 20 percent.

However, death rates varied among different groups. Death rates were particularly high among indigenous communities in the U.S, Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. This is perhaps due to lower rates of exposure to past strains of influenza. In some cases entire indigenous communities were wiped out.

Of course, even a 20 percent death rate vastly exceeds a typical flu outbreak, which kills less than one percent of those infected.

  1.  Medicines of the day had little impact on the disease

No specific anti-viral therapies were available during the 1918 flu. Various sprays, inhalations, potions and masks were used to stop transmission of the virus but they were ineffective. That’s still largely true today, where most medical care for the flu aims to support patients recovery, rather than cure them.

Even 100 years later there is still no guaranteed vaccine to protect you from the flu!

An influenza medicine depot in Christchurch for “poor” people. Taken by an unknown photographer 4 December 1918. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: 1/1-008542-G.

One hypothesis suggests that many flu deaths could actually be attributed to aspirin poisoning. Medical authorities at the time recommended large doses of aspirin of up to 30 grams per day. Today, about four grams would be considered the maximum safe daily dose. Large doses of aspirin can lead to many of the pandemic’s symptoms including; fever, breathing difficulties, nausea, extreme headache and internal bleeding.

However, death rates seem to have been equally high in places in the world where aspirin was not so readily available, so the evidence is inconclusive.

6. The impact of the Influenza

Because the influenza affected younger people there were many more orphans and widowed parents than at any previous time. In New Zealand over 1300 families lost one, and 134 families lost both parents to the flu. This impacted on society for decades to come as the government, churches and individuals filled the gaps. Most families would have known someone who fell victim to the pandemic.

A positive outcome of the Influenza was better health care, disaster planning and urban renewal throughout the world. In New Zealand the Health Act of 1921 and various local ordinances directly resulted in changes to how the country looked at poverty. There were significant changes to housing and health care provision for societies most needy. This would never have happened without the 1918 Influenza.

More Information:

Rice G., & Bryder, L. (2005) Black November: the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in New Zealand (2nd ed.). Christchurch, NZ.: Canterbury University Press. RC150.9.N5RIC 2005

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic on the NZHistory website

Jason Reeves compiles a list of all 1918 Influenza victims

1918 – the final push

1918 was the final year of war, but it was also among the most costly.

Bruce Hickinbotton
Bruce Hickinbotton

Bruce Hickenbottom was remembered at the Technical College for his portrayal of Father Christmas in a fundraising entertainment. He died on April 23, 1918.

Nesslea Jarman was killed in action on August 25, 1918. His older brother, Frank, had been killed at Gallipoli in 1916.

Nesslea Jarman
Nesslea Jarman







Duncan Rutherford
Duncan Rutherford

Duncan Rutherford was a prominent member of the Students’ Association. With his friends Don Smith and Fred Twyford, he would perform comic musical numbers at entertainments. He was also a member of the Debating Society. Duncan was killed in action on August 22, 1918. His old friend, Don Smith, was able to attend his burial.




Gordon Seay, who was known as a keen and successful sportsman at College, worked as a clerk for the National Mortgage and Agency Company. On joining the army he was made a Paymaster-Sergeant, but on arriving in France he reverted to the ranks at his own request. He was killed in action on May 9, 1918.

Gordon Seay
Gordon Seay








Joseph Thomas was reported wounded and missing in October, 1918. His death was finally confirmed at a court of enquiry held in January, 1919. He left a widow, Elfrieda – they had been married for less than six months.

Frank Cummins
Frank Cummins

Charles Horwell
Charles Horwell

Cecil Kircher
Cecil Kircher

Charles Mackintosh
Charles Mackintosh

William Otley
William Otley








Frank Cummins, Charles Horwell, Cecil Kircher, Fred Lees, William Leighton, George Lewis, Charles Mackintosh, William Miller, William Otley, Percy Saville, and Leonard Tobeck were also killed in 1918.





The First World War ended, officially, at 11.11am, on the 11th of November, 1918. New Zealand had lost more than 18,000 men and women, and thousands more had returned broken in body and mind. Every April, we remember them, and those from other conflicts.

Next time you’re passing through the Rakaia Centre, take a moment to read the honours board there.

Honours board

We will remember them.

October, 1917

October 1917 saw some of the fiercest fighting of the war, at the height of the Battle of Passchendaele. New Zealand troops were heavily involved in this battle.

Percy Clark was a prominent member of the Students’ Association, rising to be Vice President in 1913. He was a member of the debating society, but this may not have been his best skill: “Mr. P. Clark for the negative put himself at a disadvantage by reading his speech, and his remarks were occasionally beside the point.” (CTC Review, Nov. 1913). He became a manual training teacher in Invercargill, before joining the army.

He was mentioned in dispatches by Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the Allied Forces:

            “For con­spic­u­ous brav­ery and de­vo­tion to duty in the Boutil­lerie Sec­tor on 10th De­cem­ber 1916. Dur­ing a Ger­man raid he mounted his gun on the para­pet and kept his gun in ac­tion un­der heavy shell fire, the Lewis Gun for this part of the line hav­ing been put out of ac­tion, and was chiefly in­stru­men­tal in de­feat­ing the raid. This Non Com­mis­sioned Of­fi­cer pre­vi­ously did ex­cel­lent work on the Somme.” – London Gazette, 1 June 1917, p. 5430

Percy was killed in action on October 11, 1917.

William Esselborn studied plumbing in the Evening School. He was the subject of what seems to have been a lengthy military enquiry in July 1917, after he sprained his ankle in the trenches. It was eventually concluded that this was the result of an accident and not through any deliberate action on William’s part. He was killed in action on October 4, 1917

Murdock MacLeod “was one of the first, and perhaps the most able of the students we have had in the building department” (Review, 1917). He became an architect, and worked for Samuel Hurst Seager in Christchurch. Murdock died on October 13, 1917, from wounds received in action. He left a widow, Minnie.

Thomas Dixon
Thomas Dixon

Thomas Dixon was described in the Review as “one of the ablest wood-working boys we have had” – and as having the dubious honour of having been known to his classmates as ‘little Dickie’. He was killed in action on October 12, 1917.




Robert Allan
Robert Allan

Robert Allan studied Agriculture, travelling to the Technical College each day from Waikari in North Canterbury (probably by train). He worked on his family’s farm until he joined the army. Robert died on October 17, 1917, from wounds received the same day.




Harold Burnett
Harold Burnett

George Allard
George Allard

George Allard, Fred Brown, Harold Burnett, John Hanna and Ralph Restall also died during October, 1917.

1917 – the fourth year

1917 was a sombre year for families of New Zealand soldiers, and the Technical College was no exception.

George Craw
George Craw

George Craw studied in the Engineering department, before working as a cleaner for New Zealand Railways. He died on August 6, 1917, from wounds received in action. He received one of the most poignant memorials in the Review in November 1917:



            “Quiet and kindly in disposition, it is difficult for us to picture him, as in the case of so many others, taking an active part in the events in which he was called to engage.”


Eric Cobeldick
Eric Cobeldick

Eric Cobeldick was a popular student at the Technical College, taking part in school sports and dramatic productions. He was killed in action on July 26, 1917, less than six weeks after arriving in France.






Thomas Ritchie
Thomas Ritchie

Thomas Ritchie, along with his sister Flossie, began at the Technical College in 1907, only its second year. He worked as a shepherd in Havelock North. He was killed in action on August 18, 1917.






Cecil Ardley
Cecil Ardley

Francis Goodwin
Francis Goodwin

Cecil Merrett
Cecil Merrett

Ashley Vincent
Ashley Vincent








Cecil Ardley, Francis Goodwin, John Horgan, Cecil Merrett, Arthur Postgate, George Scarr and Ashley Vincent also died in 1917.

1916 – the third year

By 1916, any thoughts of “over by Christmas” were gone. The Technical College lost many Old Boys in the fighting of this year.

Leonard Barter
Leonard Barter

Edward Beattie
Edward Beattie

Hugh Bower
Hugh Bower

Leonard Derungs
Leonard Derungs














Leonard Barter, Edward Beattie, and Hugh Bower were reported missing on September 15-16, 1916. Leonard Derungs joined his company in France on October 1, 1916, and was reported missing that same day.

An extensive enquiry was carried out in December, 1916, which confirmed the deaths in action of these and many other men.

Walter Dougall was a pupil in the Agricultural department, and an active sportsman – “An excellent forward, who knows the game well and plays with dash,” according to the Football notes in the1912 Technical College review. He was wounded four times, and promoted to Lieutenant, before dying on September 15, 1916, of wounds received the same day.

James McCullough was an early pupil in the cabinetmaking department, and worked as a shop fitter in Wellington. He died after being wounded in an accidental explosion on August 26, 1916.

Geoffrey Willey
Geoffrey Willey

Albert Wills
Albert Wills








Leonard Scott, Geoffrey Willey, and Albert Wills also died during 1916.

The greatest enemy of all

Illness and disease have always ravaged armies, and the First World War was no exception. In an age before antibiotics, even common ailments could kill.

Ameral Abbott
Ameral Abbott

Alan Barker
Alan Barker

David Fincham
David Fincham

Reginald Leeming
Reginald Leeming








Ameral Abbott, who had worked on his family’s farm at Southbridge, died of Polio in Cairo on May 8, 1915, without having seen action. His brother, George, was also killed in the war.

Alan Barker was fondly remembered in the Technical College Review as a lively member of the Society. He died of Tuberculosis in hospital in London on July 7, 1917.

David Fincham died of Malaria in Cairo on November 7, 1918. His family received news of his death on November 11, 1918, the day the war ended. Frank Rudd also fell to Malaria in Cairo, on October 22, 1918.

Reginald Leeming arrived in England on January 20, 1917, and was admitted to hospital ten days later. He died on February 8, 1917, of meningitis.

William Colville
William Colville

James Hooper
James Hooper

Daniel Spence
Daniel Spence








William Colville, James Hooper, and Daniel Spence all died of Influenza, during the epidemic of 1918-9. James and Daniel were on board the troopship Tahiti, when an outbreak of Influenza struck. Overall, 90% of those on board were infected and 77 died.

William was in camp at Featherstone when he fell ill, and he died on November 21, 1918, ten days after the war had ended.

WW100: Disease: The greatest enemy of all

When people think about casualties caused by war they envision combat dead but disease has historically been a far greater danger.

A Hospital Ward : a dysentery ward of the General Hospital at Port Said. James McBey 27 June 1917. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2941)
A Hospital Ward : a dysentery ward of the General Hospital at Port Said. James McBey 27 June 1917. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2941)

Disease: the greatest enemy?

Was the Great War the first major conflict in which disease caused fewer deaths than armed combat?

 A comparison of war casualties from the pre First World War era is informative:

  • Peninsular Wars, Southern Europe, 1808-1815. Deaths from disease 70%, combat deaths 30%.
  • Crimean War, Eastern Europe, 1853-1856. British deaths from disease 55%, combat deaths 45%.
  • American Civil War, North America, 1861-1865. Deaths from disease 56%, combat deaths 44%.
  • First and Second Boer Wars, South Africa, 1880-1881, 1899-1902. British deaths from disease 66%, combat deaths 34%.
  • Russo-Japanese-War, Asia, 1904-1905. Japanese deaths from disease 35%, combat deaths 65%.
Apart from the Russo-Japanese war, it is obvious that more soldiers died from disease than from combat in the pre war period.

Malaria prevention at Salonika, during the  Q 32159 British soldiers stand on parade, waiting to receive their daily dose of the anti-malaria drug quinine, in Salonika during the First World War
British soldiers stand on parade, waiting to receive their daily dose of the anti-malaria drug quinine, in Salonika during the First World War. © IWM (Q 32159)

Of the 10 million military deaths during the First World War, 6-7 million died in combat and a staggering 3-4 million died from infectious diseases.

Improvements in ambulatory services, surgery and medical treatment meant that fewer died from infections & sickness. Regardless, a third of deaths during the war still resulted from disease.

Common vectors of illness

The types of illness across theatres is remarkably similar. Epidemics of typhus, malaria, typhoid (the infamous enteric fever), diarrhoea, yellow-fever, pneumonia and influenza, innumerable cases of venereal disease & scabies affected all nations.

A sergeant of the Lancashire Fusiliers in a flooded dugout opposite Messines near Ploegsteert Wood, January 1917. © IWM (Q 4665)
A sergeant of the Lancashire Fusiliers in a flooded dugout opposite Messines near Ploegsteert Wood, January 1917. © IWM (Q 4665)

Conditions in the trenches also caused specific diseases: trench fever, trench mouth and trench foot were all caused by the filthy conditions. Gangrene and tetenus were also problems.

The deadly 1918 Spanish Influenza was indirectly a result of the massive concentration of men in sub optimum conditions.

The New Zealand story

Of our 16 700 war dead, approximately 11% died of disease. This is 1600 women and men, including 275 from the 1918 Influenza pandemic alone.

Further reading:

Jared M. Diamond, (2005). Guns, germs and steel : a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years. HM626DIA

Here is transcript of a lecture delivered by Professor Francis Cox, of Gresham College on this subject:  The First World War: Disease, The Only Victor:

Here is an interesting statistical breakdown from the Otago medical School about New Zealand casualties:

Nick Wilson et. al. Injury Epidemiology and New Zealand Military Personnel in World War One:

The primary site for WW100 commemoration in New Zealand:New Zealand WW100: