Local Body Dead Keen To Move On Grave Issue
22 September 2000
LOCAL BODY DEAD KEEN TO MOVE ON
The historic Symonds Street Cemetery is to get a much-needed facelift. Auckland City’s Parks and Recreation Committee has recommended an extra $100,000 per annum every year over the next four years for the upgrade of graves and surrounds. A further $20,000, saved from other projects, will fund the demolishing of the public toilets and dayroom located on “Pigeon Park”.
Committee chairman Councillor David Hay says “This has been a designated graveyard since 1842 that closed for burials in 1908. Captain William Hobson is buried in that cemetery along with many of Auckland City’s founding fathers. I think it is the right time to get on and preserve the historic graves that are there and at the same time open the area up for people to enjoy and walk in.”
There are approximately 1500 tombstones in the cemetery and on average 23 graves, monuments and surrounds are being restored annually. “So far we have restored 46 graves and at the current rate it will take another 65 years until we have finished them all,” says Councillor Hay. “The Committee’s decision will certainly speed this up.”
Advertisements are to be placed in various publications to contact descendants of those buried in the cemetery and inform them about the restoration process. An application to the Lottery Grants Board has been made to help with funding assistance for these purposes. “We have had indications of interest from the Auckland Irish Society to be involved in a working bee over the next two months. People are keen about this project, they want to help and be involved in a fascinating part of the history of their City,” says Councillor Hay.
A plan is in place to improve the access, grounds and signage around Captain Hobson’s grave. Ongoing liaison with the New Zealand Police has also been instigated to help alleviate vandalism to the graves and monuments. “The removal of the toilet block will certainly improve things as it will not only enhance the views from Karangahape Road but also improve safety and security,” says Councillor Hay.
Councillor David Hay
Parks and Recreation Committee
Tel: w)6201647 or h)6265008