Monday, November 19, 2012

Waikumete Cemetery

It’s dead good Waikumete Cemetery in Glen Eden is one of the most significant heritage places managed by Auckland Council. At 108 ha, it is New Zealand’s largest cemetery, the second largest in the southern hemisphere, and the resting place of over 60,000 people, some of whom played an important role in our history. The cemetery is just one of the many heritage assets owned or managed by Auckland Council on behalf of the community.

Ref: JTD-12AA-02366-3, West Auckland Research Centre
The cemetery opened in 1886 as a replacement for the overcrowded Symonds Street Cemetery. It was laid out by denomination and contains many historic graves and memorials of heritage significance. It includes a children’s section, soldiers’ cemetery, large lawn cemetery, Māori urupa, mass grave of over 1000 flu victims from 1918, and a memorial to the 1979 Mt. Erebus Air Disaster. The cemetery also contains a notable group of mausoleums and the historic Faith-in-the-Oaks Chapel (1886), Sexton’s House (1886) and crematorium.


Ref: JTD-12A-03533, West Auckland Research Centre
A number of historic trees survive in the older part of the cemetery and are scheduled as heritage vegetation. This part of the cemetery is also notable for its exotic wildflowers.

Waikumete Cemetery is also one of the most protected heritage places in the region. The whole cemetery is scheduled category I heritage item in the legacy Waitakere City District Plan, while the chapel and historic mausoleums are individually scheduled as category I and the Sexton's House as category II heritage items. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust register also lists the chapel as Historic Places Category 2.

Ref: 580-9583, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Read more in the Conservation and Management Plan and check out Auckland Libraries' heritage collection resources on this topic.

Author: Rebecca Harfield, Heritage Assests Advisor, Auckland Council

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