Story: Death and dying

Karori Cemetery

Wellington's Karori Cemetery was established in 1891, when the inner-city Bolton Street Cemetery became too small for the expanding population. It stretches over 35 hectares and is New Zealand's second-largest cemetery. The first person to be buried in the cemetery was Frederick William Fish, a premature baby. Since then, 80,000 people have been buried in the cemetery, some in coffins and others in caskets containing their ashes. The cemetery is now full, and the only plots available are pre-purchased individual and family plots, or plots for the burial of children.

Karori Cemetery is divided into different sections including separate areas for people of different religious affiliations. A services cemetery was established in 1921 for the armed forces. There is also a memorial for the 151 people who died in the derailment of a train at Tangiwai bridge on Christmas Eve, 1953. Sixteen of the victims are buried at the memorial.

There are traditional burial grounds with tombstones, and also a lawn cemetery and a rose garden with plaques that remember those cremated at the Karori Crematorium. The crematorium began operating in 1909 and is the oldest crematorium in Australasia.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Ruth McManus and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Death and dying - Burials and cemeteries', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/interactive/30421/karori-cemetery (accessed 23 October 2017)

Story by Ruth McManus and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011