Story: Historic volcanic activity

Grave of unidentified victims

Grave of unidentified victims

Twenty-one unidentified victims of the Tangiwai disaster were buried in the Karori Lawn Cemetery, Wellington, on 31 December 1953. The coffins were placed side by side in a large grave. Ponga ferns and wreaths sent from all around the country were laid at the graveside. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (centre), attended the funeral and is seen here talking to the families of some of the victims. Later it was discovered that several of the victims had been misidentified, and the graves were exhumed. Eventually the bodies of 16, including eight who were never identified, were interred at the Tangiwai National Memorial at Karori Cemetery, which was dedicated in 1957.

About this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, National Publicity Studios Collection
Reference: 1/2-042943; F
Photograph by E. Woollett

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, Carol Stewart and Graham Leonard, 'Historic volcanic activity - Ruapehu and the Tangiwai disaster', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/6873/grave-of-unidentified-victims (accessed 27 June 2017)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, Carol Stewart and Graham Leonard, published 12 Jun 2006