10 Jan 2016

Space limits prompt vertical burial talk

12:23 pm on 10 January 2016

Vertical burials are being mooted as a way of maximising crowded space at Auckland cemeteries.

Waikumete Cemetery

Waikumete Cemetery is New Zealand's largest cemetery. It occupies a site of 108 hectares in Glen Eden, Auckland. Photo: J E McGowan / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The Auckland Council is seeking ideas about more innovative burial methods.

It increased the cost of traditional cemetery plots last July, abolishing a subsidy in order to cover operating costs.

Manager of cemeteries Catherine Moore accepts the idea of burying the dead standing up probably won't be well received by most Aucklanders.

But she said it would be worth considering as several cemeteries around the world were either designed specially for vertical burials or had a special section for them.

"It is fairly technical in terms of set-up, we're not sure that it's going to be acceptable to a large sector of our community so I guess you know that's part of what council needs to consider."

Ms Moore said the council also needed to think about how it could work technically and if it was a good use of land.

However, she did not know if vertical burials would be cheaper than the norm.

Ms Moore said another option could be pulling up pathways and roads to make more room - but that was not something the council would favour.

Ideas must be submitted by next week.

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