Source: Auckland Council
Auckland Council’s responsibility to provide cemetery and cremation services for the Auckland region is one of the most sensitive things we do, and a function we carry out with the utmost of care and attention.
The Alert Level 4 restrictions for funerals and tangi mean that we have to limit cemetery and burial services in line with national guidelines.
Gathering together for funerals and tangi is not permitted while New Zealand is at Alert Level 4.
It includes gatherings at burials, cremations, memorial services, open or closed caskets or viewings, funeral wakes, processions or receptions and social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors.
Auckland Council Cemeteries
Cemetery Services Manager Nikki Marchant-Ludlow says her team is doing everything it can to maintain essential cemetery services, in keeping with the government guidelines.
“Not being able to hold or attend a funeral will be incredibly difficult for people during this challenging time. We must follow the government’s Alert Level 4 measures, for the health and wellbeing of the bereaved and the people that care for their loved ones.
“We will continue to carry out burials, but with only a small team of cemetery staff in attendance.
“These rules also mean that people cannot view the cremation charge – the process where a casket is placed in a cremator and cremation begins.
“While it in no way replaces being able to attend a funeral in person, we will provide photographs of burials so that people know their loved one has been farewelled with care,” says Nikki.
Visiting our cemeteries
Auckland Council’s cemeteries are visited by many people daily – not just to visit the graves or memorials of loved ones, but also for walking, running and cycling on cemetery paths. This will continue for the time being but Ms Marchant-Ludlow says ongoing access to cemeteries may need to be reviewed if safe physical distance guidelines cannot be maintained.
“We ask people to follow government guidance on only venturing out locally and staying two metres apart from other people when visiting or passing through our cemeteries,” she says.
Detailed information on our cemetery and cremation services during the COVID-19 response is available on our website.
- Services – there will be no chapel services or graveside services.
- Cremations – cremations will continue but bookings must be made prior. There will be no viewing of cremation charges (the cremation process). Ashes cannot be collected, they will either be collected by a funeral director or stored securely at the cemetery office until further notice.
- Graveside and ash burials – all burials will be carried out with cemetery staff only in attendance. Public attendance at all burials is not permitted until further notice. Further information on natural burials will be provided once guidance has been issued by the Ministry of Health.
- Burial plot purchases – burial plot purchases will be prioritised and will only be available to families who have lost a loved one or whose loved one has been diagnosed as terminally ill. Prior bookings for these plot purchases are essential.
- Genealogy research – examination of physical records held at cemetery offices and face-to-face research support is not available until further notice. Searches can still be completed online.
We recognise these cemetery service restrictions will create added distress for people grieving the loss of a loved one. The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand has prepared a helpful resource to support families to commemorate and farewell loved ones while we are all in isolation.
Please note: Auckland Council is not the only provider of cemetery services in the Auckland region. Please see other provider’s websites or contact them directly for information about their services during the COVID-19 response.