Research Projects


Learning lessons now for the future


PandemicNZ is a McGuinness Institute project that aims to help New Zealand prepare for future pandemics, as well as manage and learn from the current COVID-19 pandemic. It draws together early Institute publications as well as an increasingly comprehensive suite of research and publications into the current pandemic.

COVID-19 Nation Dates: A timeline of significant events in Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 pandemic is the newest book in the Nation Dates series by non-partisan think tank the McGuinness Institute.

COVID-19 Nation Dates presents a timeline of significant events that have shaped the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We have endeavoured to create a comprehensive list of events; however, we may still have missed some events. We intend to publish a second edition in a twelve months‘ time once other changes become apparent. For this reason, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

This book is available for purchase on the McGuinness Institute’s BigCartel store.

For bulk orders and bookseller information, please email us.


COVID-19 Nation Dates Book

Pandemics are not uncommon. The COVID-19 pandemic is the fifth global pandemic in just over a century. Previous pandemics began in 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. When looking back over time, pandemics can be seen as part of the normal cycle of events: what the McGuinness Institute calls ‘The Long Normal’. Pandemics tend to be categorised as mild, moderate or severe. COVID-19 is a moderate pandemic.

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified about multiple cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause, circulating in Wuhan, China. On 11 January 2020, the first known death was confirmed. Nine days later, Thailand became the second country to record its first case of the coronavirus and, shortly afterwards, cases were recorded in Japan, South Korea and the United States. By 30 January 2020, over 10,000 cases had been reported globally and WHO declared a global health emergency. On 11 February 2020, WHO officially titled the coronavirus disease COVID-19. By 11 March 2020, there were over 118,000 recorded cases across 114 countries and WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Latest publication

Discussion Paper 2021/03 – A COVID-19 Situational Report: Beyond Aotearoa New Zealand’s Fortress as at 1 September 2021

Recent research

Think Piece 37 - The gap between doses matters!

Wendy McGuinness, June 2021

Download (PDF, 974 KB)

Influenza Epidemic Commission, 1919

Check out the 1919 Influenza Epidemic Commission plan, a document that is still relevant over 100 years later.

Read here.

Past Initiatives


In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the McGuinness Institute created SupplyNZ: Winning the war against COVID-19. While hopeful that New Zealand’s lockdown strategy would work, we felt it was important to build New Zealand’s connections and capabilities in case the nationwide lockdown was not enough to stop the spread of the virus, and resulted in gaps in supply chains.

We welcome makers, purchasers and suppliers of healthcare products as well as organisations or individuals with production capabilities (e.g. raw materials, bulk fabric or 3-D printing) and/or time to fill out the registration form to be placed on the SupplyNZ Register.

SupplyNZ: Winning the war against COVID-19

Assorted Publications

See a selection of our research and publications related to PandemicNZ below.

Think Piece

Contributing Paper

Working Paper 2020/01

Working Paper 2020/06


There are a wide range of variables that New Zealand needs to consider and seek to understand. This section contains our thinking and some probes through social media to understand what other people are thinking. As things are changing over time, we have provided a brief timeline to show the context of the publications below.

Cover of Nation Dates (Third Edition)

Unlocking Strategy: the COVID-19 dilemma

Think Piece 33 – The Long Normal

Country graphs: Mapping the COVID-19 curves

Cover of Think Piece 34 featuring binoculars looking at a living room

Worksheet 2020/01: COVID-19 Exploring certainties and uncertainties

COVID-19 Phase 1: Instagram poll results

Unlocking Strategy: the COVID-19 dilemma