Rest in Pieces? - Northern Advocate - 14th December 2011


Recent articles in relation to headstones being found on Onerahi foreshore really makes one wonder what has become of our standards.

Many in our district and nationwide have fought over the years for burial sites to be in a condition that allows peace and dignity for such a sacred and spiritual place. 

Our council has acknowledged a sad history surrounding conditions at our cemeteries in the past and expressed the need to put this right. 

Over the years headstones have been removed from cemeteries such as Mission Ground Cemetery on Selwyn Avenue and later headstones were removed at Kioreroa Cemetery.

With regards to these and other cemeteries, where headstones have been removed, one would hope that accurate records of everyone that was buried at the cemetery have been preserved for history’s sake.

Apparently, there have been injustices associated with historical cemeteries in the district that have resulted in Maori exhuming their ancestors from cemeteries and moving the remains to safer places.

The dumping of removed headstones in various dump sites by previous councils was extremely insensitive and culturally offensive. 

Now, by chance, local iwi have found a site where headstones have been dumped and used for fill on the foreshore at Onerahi. 

Council acknowledges that it has been aware of this issue for some time, but what has it done? 

Further investigation needs to take place to find out where these headstones come from, whose they are and what will be done to rectify the situation.

I know if the sanctuary of my passed relatives had been changed, I sure as, would not be happy.  What has happened to ‘Rest in Peace’ or has council it changed to ‘rest in pieces’?


Warren Slater

Maunu                           (items abridged in italics for Northern Advocate copy)