Burials

Burials are available at both Karori and Makara Cemeteries. Find out about how to make a reservation, service options, grave decorations, disinterment and ongoing maintenance.

A natural burial site in the hills.

A natural burial area

Natural burials

In a natural burial the body is not embalmed. A biodegradable casket is used to help natural decomposition. A native tree is planted at the head or base of each plot.

For more information, check:

Make a reservation

Contact our Cemetery Administrator as soon as possible to check available dates and times and make a provisional booking.

Karori Cemetery

Fees

Hours

Burial services are held Monday to Friday, between 8am and 4.15pm.

Special arrangements can be made outside these hours and for weekends and public holidays, but additional costs apply.

Complete the application forms

Complete the Application for Right to Burial form and return it to the Karori Cemetery office.

All documentation needs to be at the Karori office at least 24 hours before the service.

Right of burial application form (50KB PDF)

You also need to complete forms for any other services that you need, like purchasing a plot or hiring a chapel.

On the day

Pre-burial preparation

Only cemetery staff are permitted to dig graves and reinstate them after burials. You may help, however, if you make a prior arrangement with the Cemetery office.

Resources and services provided

Resources available for burials include:

  • greeting mat
  • grave mats
  • lowering device
  • lowering device stand
  • boards and bearers
  • dirt box with trowel
  • temporary grave marker.

Support staff

The cemetery's Burial Attendant is available to:

  • greet and direct a funeral party 15 minutes before a burial
  • brief the funeral director about any technical site issues
  • assist with loading and lowering the casket
  • oversee safety throughout the service.

After the service

A temporary grave marker with the deceased's name is put on the grave by a cemetery technician. The marker is leased for a fixed fee, regardless of how long it's used. Official markers are the only temporary markers allowed in the cemetery.

You have up to 13 months to choose a permanent memorial to replace the temporary one. To find out more about specifications for plaques and monuments, see:

Cemetery memorials

Grave decorations

You can decorate the cemetery headstone, but not the grass area in front of or behind the plot as we need to maintain and mow these areas.

We may remove grave decorations, plastic flowers or plants on the lawn area.

Grave maintenance

Makara Cemetery:

Cemetery staff maintain all plots at Makara Cemetery.

Karori Cemetery:

Cemetery staff maintain accessways to plots, but plots are the responsibility of families.

If you require a contractor to do work on your plot, they must first get a work permit:

Cemeteries - Work permits

Subsequent interments

This is where interment takes place on an existing grave to allow for the burial of other family members within the same plot.

Disinterment

Disinterment is when remains or ashes are removed from a grave. Remains are either transferred to another plot or removed from the cemetery entirely.

For all enquiries about disinterment, contact the Cemetery office.

Grave re-use

Grave re-use is when remains are removed from a grave to make room for more family members. The grave is dug deeper and the remains returned.

This is done when a plot is full but families wish to continue using it, to keep family members together.

Burial records

Burial records are available for public viewing at the Karori Cemetery office, as well as being searchable online.