The spread and impact of the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, has had an unprecedented effect on society as we know it. On March 11 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, and on March 21 the New Zealand Government announced it would be using an alert level system to describe our country’s status and response plans. At 11.59 on 25 March 2020 we reached Alert Level 4, resulting in a country-wide lock-down. This lock-down is having a deep impact on the community, and on Wellington City Council.
While events are still unfolding, we are creating a timeline showing how the Council has responded to the impact of the pandemic in New Zealand.
Local authorities play a significant part in the lives of people, as a provider of critical services. Councils also work with their communities to serve the needs of people currently living in those communities, and those who will live there in the future. Given this connection and the impact on residents' lives, how the Council reacts, when, and what it does, are significant to the well-being of Wellington’s residents and businesses.
So why are we documenting a current event in Archives Online? As well as being at the centre of public consciousness, significant events such as this highlight the importance of Archives in keeping a record of events for future reference. All the content which is linked or accessible is of enduring value. This is for several reasons: - It has high informational and historical value, documenting in some detail the response the Council made and the decision-making processes behind that response - It demonstrates the awareness of community and need for well-being, and the impact the pandemic has on residents.
This content is also of cultural significance, as it is of relevance to the Wellington community, reflecting how we have responded but also, in the longer term, how we may change or adapt as a response.
Although the pandemic may seem unprecedented, this is not the first time Wellington has responded to an international health emergency. In 1918, during the worldwide Influenza pandemic, the Wellington City Council was advising citizens on how to keep themselves and others safe. See the linked page on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic to find out more.
Please explore, engage with and share our record of this event. Also, if you have other information relevant to this we’d love for you to get in touch.