The traditions here vary somewhat from what we usually see in the USA. Generally, the grave markers are put on the grave sites here one year following the death of the loved one. That is a very special day when family and friends gather again to tell stories and share memories about the person who has passed on. The graves are very, very respected here, and absolutely no one desecrates them, steals flowers, or takes mementos that are left at the grave.
Most of the families make use of whatever surface there is on the monument to leave messages, names of survivors, pictures, etc. They are so interesting that I wanted to share some of the pictures we have taken. As always, my husband and I feel a great sense of reverence in a cemetery for the feelings of people when they lose someone special to them; so I share these with you to show how various people express their losses.
Starting with "Princess Bubbles" these four pictures are from the cemetery next to the Te Hauke Branch. You can see all the mementos here that are never disturbed.
Another tribute to the loss of a young daughter.
The Maori culture expressed
Maori culture again
All Maori carvings are painted in the "Maori red".
Not uncommon to see banners and large pictures.
Recent death, some of the loved one's belongings will stay there undisturbed.
Many of the graves are quite close together.
Note the heading on this one: "Foreva 17"
Nickname says it all.
Much of the language seen is Maori or Samoan or Tongan.
Another Maori carving
Most common terms of endearment here are Mum, Auntie, and Nana.
This stone is for the husband of our dear friend in Bridge Pa, Mary Reid. We don't know what the S.T. stands for, but everyone called him Tori. He played rugby with the All Blacks and was much loved by everyone. He died 8 years ago, and people still talk about him a lot.
Another Temple couple...plus I loved the nickname "Gooch".
This lady was born on Christmas Day...then died on Christmas Day 38 years later.
Who was this little boy's hero?
And this man was a truck driver.
Have you ever seen this on the back on a gravestone?
This is a close-up of one of the pictures.
A tribute to an only son...very sad.
And, finally, I love the message found on this stone. It's so true!