Have you thought about cemeteries of late? Apparently, you must

Cemetery heritage walks and crematoria tours are among the events taking place across New Zealand during the inaugural national Cemeteries Week.

The week, which runs from 3-9 April, brings together the public, councils, businesses, industry associations and community groups to raise awareness of the social value of cemeteries and crematoria.

New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective Chair Michelle Rivers said Cemeteries Week aimed to demystify cemeteries and crematoria and highlight the role they play in our communities.

“Aside from being sites to remember loved ones, they also provide places where people can relax, interact and connect with their communities.”

Recent media coverage has highlighted some of the issues faced by cemeteries. One is the difficulty of securing more space amid rising land prices. In Auckland, for example, land is an increasingly rare commodity, and the council has to compete with other developers.

Another issue, exacerbated by increasing population and changing demographics in some parts of the country, is the sensitivities around different traditions and desires for different kinds of ceremony and burial.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach,” Ms Rivers said. “Councils and funeral directors have to be flexible but they also need to factor in aspects such as by-laws and health and safety. It can be a tricky balance to achieve.”

A Cemeteries Week website has been setup at www.cemeteriesweek.co.nz to showcase some of the events taking place at cemeteries and crematoria around the country. Events range from cemetery walks in Christchurch and Porirua to heritage trails and crematoria tours in Auckland.

“Cemeteries Week celebrates what these sites represent – enduring, welcoming places for people to connect, recognise their heritage and embrace cultural diversity,” Ms Rivers said.

Oh yeah, like the religious and racial segregation where even different Christian sects don’t want to rot in the same rectangle of soil. ?Very diverse and inclusive.

Crematoria tours? ? Really?