International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Pacific Leprosy Foundation


    Category Leprosy Organisation
    Country New Zealand
    Address 115 Sherborne Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Telephone + (03) 366 3685
    Fax + (03) 366 7771


    The archives of The Pacific Leprosy Foundation (formerly The Makogai Lepers [N.Z.] Trust Board, Lepers’ Trust Board, and Leprosy Trust Board) hold documents on leprosy control in the South Pacific and elsewhere, collected by the foundation. The files span from the 1930s to the present.

    Many of the files document the history of the PLF and its founders (eg. donation records, appeals, promotional materials, and correspondence with other organisations).

    A significant part of the collection relates to the leprosy settlement at Makogai, Fiji: histories, annual reports, pamphlets, and some patient notes and photographs. A series of oral history interviews with former Makogai patients offers an important insight into patient life there. The interviews are of 15 people and were conducted in 2004 by Dorothy McMenamin.

    Additionally, there are many documents written by C.J. Austin, who served as Makogai’s director (published reports and articles; also pages from an unpublished travel journal [1951-1952]), and a memoir by his wife, A.L. Austin, about her years at Makogai. Other leprosy settlements, including those at Atoifi, Honiara, Malaita, Moratana, Ombafan, Qaibaita, Quail Island, and Takwa, are also mentioned in the archive.

    The archives also include reports, pamphlets, educational materials, and meeting minutes produced by medical institutions and charitable organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), LEPRA, The Leprosy Mission, the South Pacific Health Board, Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA), Oxfam, Auckland Medical School, IDEA, the South Pacific Commission, THELEP, Armauer Hansen Research Institute, and the Pacific Leprosy Foundation itself.

    There are also medical publications (conference papers, journal articles, leprosy surveys, etc, mostly relating to the South Pacific), reports from International Leprosy Congresses, and general newspaper and magazine articles. The archive also includes videos, slides, and photographs from various sources.

    An inventory of the files (created in 2006 and not including more recent additions, such as the oral history collection) is available here.

    For more information, especially on the collection of Makogai oral histories, see:

    Buckingham, Jane. “The Pacific Leprosy Foundation Archive and Oral Histories of Leprosy in the South Pacific”. The Journal of Pacific History 41.1 (2006): 81–86. Web.


    Name The Archivist
    Organization Pacific Leprosy Foundation
    Address Private Bag 4730, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Telephone +(03) 366 3685
    Fax +(03) 366 7771

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