Cemeteries Management Plan Review

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Karori Cemetery

The future of Wellington’s cemeteries

We are reviewing our strategic and management plan for Mākara, Karori and Tawa cemeteries to ensure we can meet the short and long-term needs of our growing city.

Under the Burials and Cremations Act, Wellington City Council has statutory responsibilities and functions to provide for burials and manage cemeteries.

There are a number of issues which we need to start thinking about now, so we are prepared for the future.

Karori Cemetery is almost at full capacity, and Mākara Cemetery is predicted to reach capacity for ash and burial interments between 2038 and 2047.

Demand for cemetery services and the way we use our cemeteries as open spaces is changing as our community diversifies. We need to understand what services and facilities people would like to see at our cemeteries.

Heritage protection at Karori and Tawa Cemeteries is another issue. Both date back to colonial times and have significant historic value.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Wellington City Council's cemeteries and about the review.

What's happened with the review so far

In July 2020, we undertook an informal engagement with key stakeholders and the wider community on how our cemeteries are used and ideas for the future.

Feedback has now closed and is currently being analysed. The findings will be used to inform the development of a draft plan, which will go out for formal consultation in October/November 2020.

The final plan is expected to be completed in early 2021.

The future of Wellington’s cemeteries

We are reviewing our strategic and management plan for Mākara, Karori and Tawa cemeteries to ensure we can meet the short and long-term needs of our growing city.

Under the Burials and Cremations Act, Wellington City Council has statutory responsibilities and functions to provide for burials and manage cemeteries.

There are a number of issues which we need to start thinking about now, so we are prepared for the future.

Karori Cemetery is almost at full capacity, and Mākara Cemetery is predicted to reach capacity for ash and burial interments between 2038 and 2047.

Demand for cemetery services and the way we use our cemeteries as open spaces is changing as our community diversifies. We need to understand what services and facilities people would like to see at our cemeteries.

Heritage protection at Karori and Tawa Cemeteries is another issue. Both date back to colonial times and have significant historic value.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about Wellington City Council's cemeteries and about the review.

What's happened with the review so far

In July 2020, we undertook an informal engagement with key stakeholders and the wider community on how our cemeteries are used and ideas for the future.

Feedback has now closed and is currently being analysed. The findings will be used to inform the development of a draft plan, which will go out for formal consultation in October/November 2020.

The final plan is expected to be completed in early 2021.

  • What you told us in the informal engagement

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    11 August, 2020
    supporting image

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our feedback survey during the informal engagement.

    We received 130 responses, and this is what we heard:

    The most frequent reason for visiting a cemetery was to visit the grave of a loved one (52% of respondents) and the second most frequent reason was for exercise (38%).

    80% of respondents were aware of the historical significance of Karori and Tawa Cemeteries. More than half would be interested in finding out more about family burial records, Wellington’s past and New Zealand’s past from cemetery records.

    66% of respondents were aware that family members are responsible for the upkeep of graves and headstones. There were a number of requests for more guidance on how best to undertake that care.

    We asked about preferences for how graves should look and be maintained. The majority (58%) of respondents preferred somewhere in between looking new and clean, and allowing gravestones to become aged and gradually overgrown.

    There was a wide spectrum of views about the concept of future graves being re-used, provided that original burial records were preserved. 50% of respondents either definitely or somewhat disagreed with this idea, while 41% definitely agreed or somewhat agreed, and 9% were neutral.

    Comments highlighted the difficult access in parts of the cemeteries, appreciation of the cemeteries as peaceful places to visit, and appreciation of the service that our cemeteries staff provide.

    These findings will be considered in conjunction with feedback from key stakeholder groups and will used to inform the development of a draft plan. The draft plan will go out for formal consultation in October/November 2020.

  • Plastic decorations in cemeteries: Here are the results of our Quick Poll ...

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    06 August, 2020
    supporting image

    Many people like to place tributes on the graves of their loved ones, but the decorations can blow away, creating rubbish and causing pollution. We asked you: Should plastic decorations be banned from the city’s cemeteries?

    We received 38 votes in our Quick Poll. Of these, 58% answered yes, 39% answered no, and 3% were unsure.

    Feedback themes included:

    - The feeling that if families have paid for a grave site, they should be able to decorate it as they wish

    - Issues with decorations being removed from graves

    The aim of the poll was to gauge public opinion on plastic decorations. We’d like to stress that we aren’t contemplating an outright ban at this stage, although we may encourage a shift towards more environmentally friendly alternatives.

    Regarding items being removed from graves - currently, items are allowed on the headstones and concrete strip the headstones are fixed to. Items will be removed from lawn areas, where they can interfere with mowing maintenance, or if they encroach onto adjacent graves. Cemetery staff always try to contact families and will hold removed items for a period so that families can reclaim them.

    How you can have your say

    Quick Polls are just one of the ways we are seeking your feedback on our cemeteries. Our formal consultation on a draft Cemeteries Management Plan will open later in the year, so please make a submission.