Research Projects

Pandemic NZ

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. See below for tables of publications and independent reports on pandemics.

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

COVID-19 Nation Dates: A timeline of significant events in Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 pandemic 

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.


Lists of government and other relevant pandemic publications

Table 1: MOH pandemic publications
This table contains a list of Ministry of Health (MOH) pandemic publications on the MOH website since 2010.

Table 2: Independent reviews on the Government’s response to COVID-19
This table contains a list of reports, prepared by independent individuals or bodies.

* Titles marked with an asterisk indicate the report has been super-ceded and the report is now out of date.
# Titles marked with a hashtag indicate a soft copy of the report cannot be found.

The events have been grouped by themes. The list of themes are as follows:

  1. Aged residential care
  2. Alert level
  3. Border control [Note: the Trans-Tasman bubble and Pacific bubble are treated as separate themes]
  4. Community outbreak
  5. COVID-19 origins
  6. Elimination
  7. Financial support [Note: this includes the Wage Subsidy Scheme]
  8. Governance
  9. Health Care Services
  10. Māori
  11. Mental Health
  12. National reserve supply [Note: this includes the composition]
  13. Pacific bubble
  14. PPE
  15. Surveillance [Note: refers to MOHs review of the characteristics of the disease and the effectiveness of the response]
  16. Testing [Note: includes PCR and RAT testing]
  17. Track and tracing
  18. Trans-Tasman bubble
  19. Vaccination
  20. Traffic light

Table 1: MOH pandemic publications

2022/02Variant updatesCOVID-19 Omicron Update (updated 22 February 2022)
2022/02Variant updatesCOVID-19 Omicron Update (updated 3 February 2022)
2021/12MāoriCOVID-19 Māori Health Protection Plan
2021/11Track and tracingContact Tracing QR Code and NFC Tag Specification
2021/09VaccinationNo evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is associated with increased risk of miscarriage
2021/08NRS Composition Composition of the national reserve supply (updated 13 August 2021 – the third update since January 2020)
2021/08Variant updatesSummary of key information from recent weekly Variants of Concern updates
2021/07Variant updatesIncreased transmission of Delta variant: higher viral load and shorter incubation period
2021/07TreatmentPharmaceutical treatments (therapeutics) for COVID-19 - current evidence and uncertainties
2021/07Variant updatesFleeting contact and the Delta and Kappa variants
2021/06VaccinationEarly evidence for the effectiveness of a third dose among immunocompromised
2021/05Variant updatesShifting thinking on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2
2021/05VaccinationCOVID-19 vaccines and their effect on viral transmission
2021/04VaccinationMonitoring vaccine safety
2021/04VaccinationEstimated volumes and timing of vaccine rollout
2021/04VaccinationVaccine side effects and reactions
2021/04TestingBorder Workforce Testing Register
2021/03MāoriCOVID-19 Māori Vaccine and Immunisation Plan
2021/03VaccinationAbout vaccines: Efficacy, effectiveness, transmission and immunity
2021/01SurveillanceAotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 Surveillance Strategy
2021/01TestingAotearoa New Zealand's COVID-19 Testing Plan
2020/12TestingCOVID-19 Assessment and Testing Data Standard
2020/12Aged Residential CareNew Zealand Aotearoa Pandemic Response Policy for Aged Residential Care
2020/12Mental Health Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: COVID-19 Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Plan (Revised)

Summary of Feedback Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: COVID-19 Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Recovery Plan (2020/09)
2020/11PPEPersonal protective equipment use for non-health workers
2020/11PPEFurther guidance on N95 masks for MIQ workers
2020/11Health Care ServicesCOVID-19 disruptions to hospital and general practice activity
2020/10Health Care ServicesCOVID-19 in Health Care and Support Workers in Aotearoa New Zealand
2020/09VaccinationImmunisation Handbook 2020
2020/09PPEPPE Guidelines for Known COVID-19 Cases
2020/09TestingCOVID-19 Messaging Implementation Guide
2020/09NRS Composition and Risk ManagementComposition of the national reserve supply
2020/08NRS Composition*Composition of the national reserve supply (updated 26/08/2020)
2020/07MāoriUpdated COVID-19 Māori Health Response Plan
2020/06Testing*Mid-Term National Testing Strategy: COVID-19 Testing
2020/06Testing*New Zealand's national testing strategy for COVID-19 for June to August 2020
2020/06Health Care ServicesGuidance for the rehabilitation of people with or recovering from COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand
2020/05EliminationCOVID-19: Elimination strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand
2020/05Surveillance*New Zealand’s COVID-19 Surveillance Plan
2020/05Mental Health*Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Plan
2020/05Track and tracingCOVID-19 Contact Tracing Data Standard
2020/04Health Care ServicesCOVID-19 Health and Disability System Response Plan
2020/04Māori*Initial COVID-19 Māori Response Action Plan
2020/01NRS Composition*Composition of the national reserve supply (updated 28/01/2020)
2017/08General PlanNew Zealand Influenza Pandemic Plan
2017/06NRS Composition*Composition of the national reserve supply (updated 20/06/2017)
2013/12National Reserve Supply National Health Emergency Plan: National Reserve Supplies Management and Usage Policies, 3rd edition
2013/12 VaccinationNational Health Emergency Plan H5N1 Pre-Pandemic Vaccine Usage Policy

Table 2: Independent reviews on the Government's response to COVID-19

2021/10GovernanceCOVID 19 Public Health Advisory Group feedback letter from Sir David Skegg
2021/09Community outbreakLetter from Sir Brian Roche to Minister Hipkins
2021/09Community outbreakObservations from the Recent Delta Outbreak and their Impact on Reconnecting New Zealanders
2021/08Border controlCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group Minutes
2021/08GovernanceJoint DPMC/MOH response letter to the COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group
2021/08Border controlCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group - Forward Work Programme
2021/07GovernanceCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group Minutes
2021/07Trans-Tasman bubbleLetter from Sir Brian Roche to Minister Hipkins re feedback on Quarantine Free Travel briefing
2021/07Border controlCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group Minutes
2021/07GovernanceMinister’s letter to Chief Executives
2021/06Community outbreakReview of the Auckland February 2021 COVID-19 Outbreak and New Zealand’s current COVID-19 Outbreak Response Capability
2021/06Community outbreakCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group Minutes
2021/06GovernanceLetter from Sir Brian Roche to Minister Hipkins
2021/06GovernanceCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group Minutes
2021/06Community outbreakCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group: Rapid Review of Auckland February 2021 Outbreak and Future Work Programme (SWC-21-MIN-0103)
2021/06Community outbreakCOVID-19 System response to recommendations from the review report into the February 2021 Auckland Outbreak
2021/06EliminationFuture of the Elimination Strategy — Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group's advice to Minister Verrall
2021/05Border controlFurther Advice of Risk Mitigation Measures for Very High Risk Countries - Letter from Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group
2021/05Community outbreakLetter from Sir Brian Roche to Minister Hipkins
2021/04Surveillance & TestingProgress against the review of surveillance, testing and contact tracing
2021/04SurveillanceCOVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group (CICRIAG): Feedback on MOH Papers
2021/04Community outbreakMeeting with the COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group
2021/03GovernanceMinisterial Advisory Group: COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group (CAB-21-MIN-0055)
2021/[N/A]GovernanceTable of responses to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and CICRIAG
2020/12VaccinationMore than just a jab: Evaluation of the Māori Influenza vaccination programme as part of the COVID-19 Māori health response
2020/10GovernanceSecond rapid review of the COVID-19 all-of-government response
2020/09Surveillance & Testing Report of Advisory Committee to Oversee the Implementation of the New Zealand COVID-19 Surveillance Plan and Testing Strategy
2020/06Border controlManaged isolation and quarantine review
2020/06Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)Management of personal protective equipment in response to Covid-19
2020/05Aged Residential CareIndependent Review of COVID-19 Clusters in Aged Residential Care Facilities
2020/04GovernanceRapid Review of Initial Operating Model and Organisational Arrangements for the National Response to COVID-19
2019Governance Joint External Evaluation of IHR Core Capacities of New Zealand: Mission Report: 26–30 November 2018

Recent research

A Suppression Strategy: Living with COVID-19 in the Year 2022 (Version 7)

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

Think Piece 37 – The gap between doses matters!

Influenza Epidemic Commission, 1919

Past initiatives

SupplyNZ: Winning the war against COVID-19

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.

Assorted publications

See a selection of our latest research and publications related to CivicsNZ 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