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Council must not include scattering of ashes in policy

Council must not include gathering of remembrance and the scattering of ashes in policy

7 August 2014

Wellington City Council must give an assurance that the gathering for remembrance and the scattering of peoples’ ashes on beaches and parks will not be part of any crackdown on free use of public space, says the Funeral Directors Association.

Chief Executive Katrina Shanks says the practice of gathering to remember our loved ones and the scattering ashes in public places has been performed for centuries and should not be interfered with.

“Requiring people to pay to book a place on a beach or in a park to gather to remember and to scatter ashes would be offensive and stupid.

“The impact of this on families would be potentially significant. It would affect the many families who wish to discreetly gather to farewell a loved one or deposit their ashes at a favourite place.

“To many this is an important ritual in their lives and must be allowed to continue.

“The council proposal does not mention that this would be one of the activities targeted, but neither does it exclude it.

“The Environment Committee report says it proposes adding to the council’s Trading in Public Places Policy ‘commercial and private functions/events that require exclusive use of land areas and therefore directly prevent casual use while the function or event occurs’.

“That suggests to me that the gathering to farewell a loved one or the scattering of ashes could be included.

“But that would be a foolish move, especially if it’s just a money-grabbing exercise, and the council should immediately dismiss such an idea.

“Any move that restricts the gathering to remember a person or the scattering of ashes on beaches or in parks and reserves would affect long-held tradition for New Zealanders.

“It would also be culturally offensive to Hindu Indians, who have scattered ashes over water as part of a 5000-year custom.

“The council would be buying a fight if they included the funerals and the scattering of ashes in this move.”

The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) is an association of caring professionals who are committed to ensuring the families they serve receive high quality funeral services.www.funeralsnewzealand.co.nz

ENDS

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