A shortage of space is appearing in some Auckland cemeteries. Funeral Director Francis Tipene is warning Māori whānau to prepare themselves before death occurs.
Tipene says Māori need to seriously think about what they want before they pass on, “No doubt, our cemeteries here in Auckland have nearly reached their full capacity. Now whanau need to start talking amongst themselves."
Auckland Council completed a study that identified areas of shortage in burial plots, with West and Central Auckland having the least capacity.
“(Māori) must think thoroughly about whether they want to be buried here in Auckland, or if they want to be buried back in their own Māori cemeteries,” says Tipene.
8000 people die in Auckland every year and that could reach 12,000 by 2038.
Several council cemeteries are set to reach their full capacity within ten years.
Tipene says cremation could be another alternative, “If we look back at the funeral of Dr. Ranginui Walker and the fact that a chief like him was cremated. That's raised greater awareness and appreciation.”
Auckland Council estimates it will need to provide 30-60,000 burial plots over the next 30 years.
The council is investigating future supply options that include the potential acquisition of new land.