Enjoy wildflowers in bloom, history walks and talks, food stalls, music and much more at Waikumete Cemetery Open Day on Sunday 12 November, 10am – 4pm.

This is the second open day at the cemetery. The first was held in February 2016 and was a great success. The event has moved to November to enjoy the wildflowers that will be in bloom.

Waikumete Cemetery, New Zealand’s largest cemetery, is located off Great North Road in Glen Eden and covers 108 hectares. It opened in 1886.

The free open day will also feature grave digging and natural burial demonstrations. You can also tour the crematorium or learn about burial practices of different cultures.

“The open day is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the human and natural heritage of this nationally significant treasure,” says Wait?kere Ranges Local Board member Sandra Coney.

“I’ll be giving a talk on the war memorials. Other talks include Jason Reeve of Ancestry on the flu pandemic, the wildflowers of Waikumete by Colin Bradshaw of Friends of Waikumete and burial customs around the world by researcher and lecturer Sally Raudon. This is only a small sampling of activities.”

If you have a relative buried there you can get help to find the grave. To locate a grave, before the day, find the search engine using the phrase ‘west burial and cremation records’ at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz, search the database, and then print out the resulting record and bring it along to the open day.

The full programme of the day’s activities is below. No registration is required for activities – just turn up. Please note that activities and times are subject to change. A printed programme and map will be available on the day.

For safety, the cemetery will be closed to private cars on the day. To get there, take the train to Glen Eden. Or bring your bike. Parking is available on side streets. A free shuttle bus service will operate within the cemetery on the day to help people get around.

When visiting the cemetery, please be respectful of the graves.

Dogs are welcome at the cemetery, provided they are on a lead and under control.

The event is organised through a partnership between Wait?kere Ranges Local Board, Friends of Waikumete Cemetery, the Urup? Committee of the cemetery’s M?ori burial ground, West Auckland RSAs, Discover Waikumete, Auckland Council cemeteries team and Ancestry.

Programme – subject to change

Timed activities

10am-10.30am
Opening ceremony, main office car park

10.45am-12.15pm
Military burial area guided walk by John and Ruth Snashall, Friends of Waikumete, Anzac Memorial

10.45am-12.15pm
Murder and Chinese disinterment – guided walk by Discover Waikumete, Freesia Road East

11am-11.05am
Armistice Day cannon firing, quartermasters quadrant

11.05am-1pm
Grave digging demonstration (Muslim), Working Together Group (WTG) burial display

11.30am-12pm
Talk 1 – War memorials by Sandra Coney, Chapel of Faith in the Oaks

11.30am-12.30pm
Guided nature walk by Waikumete Neighbours Group, City lookout

12pm-12.30pm
Talk 2 – Flu pandemic by Jason Reeve of Ancestry, Chapel of Faith in the Oaks

12.30pm-1.30pm
How to dig a grave demonstration (traditional method) – shoring, lowering device, sticks and straps, WTG burial display

1pm-2pm
Explore the gumlands – Auckland’s rare ecosystem walk by Auckland Council Biodiversity, Corner of Red Road and Wait?kere View Road

1pm-3pm
Learn about Jewish burial practices by Auckland Hebrew Congregation, Jewish Prayer House

1pm-2.30pm
Grave digging demonstration (Muslim), WTG burial display

1.30pm-2.00pm
Learn about natural burials, WTG burial display

2pm-3pm
The last of the hangings – guided walk by Discover Waikumete, Location to be confirmed

2.30pm-3.30pm
Explore the gumlands – Auckland’s rare ecosystem walk by Auckland Council Biodiversity, Corner of Red Road and Wait?kere View Road

2.30pm-3.30pm
Grave digging demonstration (standard) – have a go at a hand dig, WTG burial display

1pm-1.30pm
Talk 3 – Burial customs around the world by Sally Raludon, Chapel of Faith in the Oaks

2pm-2.30pm
Talk 4 – Last flight of Texas Tornado by Robert Brassey, Chapel of Faith in the Oaks

3pm-3.30pm
Talk 5 – Wild flowers of Waikumete, Presenter to be confirmed, Chapel of Faith in the Oaks

All-day activities – 10am – 4pm

Location: Main office carpark (HQ1)**
• Programmes with maps, information, lost children, water, incident reporting
• Stalls: stonemasons, funeral services, casket manufacturers, flowers
• Coffee and food vendors
• Heritage centre – Chapel 1
• Family-led funerals – Chapel 2
• Learn about the crematorium

Location: Chapel of Faith in the Oaks (HQ2)**
• Programmes with maps, information, lost children, water, incident reporting
• Food vendors
• Vintage car display
• The West City Concert Band and the Glen Eden Primary School Choir will be performing throughout the day

Location: Mausoleums**
• Learn about the mausoleums

Location: Working Together Group (WTG) Muslim burial display**
• Learn about Muslim burials by WTG, Muslim Funeral Service

Location: New Zealand Muslim Association (NZMA) burial area**
• Learn about Muslim burials by NZMA

0