Find out what happens to ashes after a cremation, and where ashes can be scattered or interred in Wellington.

After a cremation

When you book a cremation you also need to advise the Karori Cemetery office what you wish to have done with the cremated remains.

Collection of ashes

In general, ashes can be collected 24 hours after the cremation. Special arrangements can be made for earlier collection, however additional costs may apply.

The Crematorium can deliver remains to a place specified by the family or executors.

If there is a representative of the deceased, they can either:

  • collect the remains within 5 working days
  • arrange an attended or unattended ash interment
  • arrange an attended or unattended ash scattering.

If the family's wishes are unknown, the funeral director is responsible for collecting or dispatching the ashes. Otherwise, ashes are sent to the funeral director at the funeral director's expense.

Scattering and interment of ashes

In public places

The only approved public place where you can scatter or inter ashes is Willowbank Park.

The Council, the Wellington Tenths Trust and Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated identify suitable public sites for the scattering or interment of ashes. These sites are decided on a case-by-case basis and are restricted to revegetation areas or parks and reserve that have low to moderate public use.

You can ask to have a site considered.

Unsuitable sites

Sites unsuitable for scattering and interment of ashes include:

  • areas of cultural or heritage significance, for example, Māori heritage sites
  • high public use sites, for example, sportsfields and botanic gardens - including the Rose Garden at the Botanic Garden
  • sites that have plans for extensive upgrades, renovations or excavations
  • unsafe sites, for example steep hillsides.

In cemetery grounds

Unattended scattering

Cemetery staff scatter ashes in an area specified by the cemetery supervisor, 3 - 5 working days after the cremation. To request this service, select it on the Cremation Booking form.

Cremation booking form (47KB PDF)

Attended scattering

An attended scattering is where family and friends are present when ashes are scattered.

Complete the relevant section of the Sundry Booking form and return it to the Karori Cemetery office when you make a cremation booking.

Interment of ashes

For attended ash interments, Cemetery technicians prepare the grave, attend the interment and reinstate the grave after the interment service.

Unattended ash interments are performed by cemetery technicians on Thursdays and Fridays.

To book an ash interment, complete the Right of Burial Application form at least 24 hours before the scheduled interment.