Monday, June 4, 2012


Oh my, you're probably thinking I've really gone off the deep end now; but because of Clyde's interest in genealogy, we have spent a considerable amount of time visiting cemeteries in the United States.  Therefore, it just came natural to us to stroll through cemeteries here in New Zealand, especially since many of the LDS churches are located next to or near cemeteries, plus all the towns have cemeteries.

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.

This is the cemetery in Hastings, where there are several walls like this...each little box is for the cremated remains of loved ones.  As you can see, some of them also have tiny vases, plaques, or messages on them.
Other cremated remains are either buried here OR taken somewhere else, but a rose bush is planted and a plaque put in place to honor the memory of the deceased.
This is a huge cemetery in Hastings that is quite old, and the headstones are very close is almost full to capacity, so the city council is looking for a new site.

Now we're at the Maori cemetery in Bridge Pa, which is right behind the Korongata Ward Chapel.  I know you can't read what's on the stone, but it is an example of the long messages left to this baby that had passed away.
Many of the grave stones leave no doubt that these were LDS people.  Bridge Pa was one of the strongest LDS towns in all of New Zealand for years, but that has sadly declined, and we're doing our best to re-ignite their testimonies.

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.

This is the gravesite of the Branch President's wife, who died 5 years ago, and he continues to serve faithfully.

 Another tribute to the loss of a young daughter.
The Maori culture expressed
This picture begins the cemetery next to the Omahu (Oh-mah-hoo) Chapel, which sadly, is only used once a month for the YSA (Young Single Adults).  It's quite tiny, but it's also a lovely building that used to be a lot busier.  The families all go to the Omahu Ward, which now meets in Napier.

 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.
And, lastly, the rest of these pictures are gravestones in another larger cemetery in Bridge Pa that we visited just today, Monday 4 June 2012.
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 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 the front of the "Whatever" gravestone, and there are several pictures of the man it memorializes.
 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment