Children - the nation's future
Early in the 20th century, children were lauded as the nation's future – but their lives were often endangered by epidemics. Schools had to be closed to stop the spread of infectious diseases like polio.
Tuberculosis was another life-threatening disease. It was described as a 'national menace' and caused concerns about national efficiency. There was no known cure, and sufferers were recommended fresh air and bed rest. Maori were affected at a much higher rate than Pakeha (European New Zealanders).