Wellington City Council's position on re-using graves

Recently we asked for your views on the idea of future graves being re-used, provided that original burial records were preserved.

We’d like to assure you that we have no plans to re-use existing graves or disinter bodies already at our cemeteries. Currently, all plots are owned permanently unless there’s a deed that states otherwise. The status of existing plots will not change.

Our cemeteries currently provide various burial options, including family plots, natural or coffin burials and ash interments. There are also areas designated for religious denomination and cultural groups, and for scattering ashes.

Re-using graves is one of a number of options we’ll explore for new plots in the future, including the terms, conditions and personal choices for a plot. The re-use of graves would be strictly opt-in, and no-one will be forced to do this – it’s simply about providing a choice for those who want it.

For people who choose to re-use a grave, at the end of an agreed time period, the family would have the option to surrender the plot or to continue for a further agreed period of time by paying a fee.

Re-use of cemetery plots is common in various European countries. For example, in Germany plots are re-used after 15-30 years, and in Switzerland and Sweden 25 years. There is also some re-use in Australia.

A fundamental principle in the draft Cemeteries Management Plan is recognising the diversity of belief and customs that different people and groups hold.

The draft Plan will go out for formal consultation from Friday 6 November to Friday 11 December. You can have your say on re-using graves, and other issues, by filling out the online feedback survey that will be put up on this website shortly.

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