About Makara Cemetery

Makara Cemetery is Wellington's largest cemetery - find out hours, location and a brief history.

Entrance gateway at Makara Cemetery.

Entrance gateway at Makara Cemetery

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Visiting Makara Cemetery

Searching for a grave

If you are looking for a particular grave, before you go:

Search the online map



Or view the Makara Cemetery Plot Map (290KB PDF)

Note that:

  • The cemetery is not staffed - if you need to talk to someone, visit or contact the nearby Karori Cemetery office which is open Monday - Friday, 9am - 4.30pm.
  • There is very limited internet coverage at the cemetery.
  • Parking is available at the cemetery roadsides unless indicated by yellow lines.
  • The cemetery rows are signposted.

Brief history

In 1940 as Karori Cemetery edged towards full capacity, the Board of Health required Wellington city to find another burial site for the population.

Makara was the chosen location. Land was bought under the Public Works Act in 1951 and 1955, and the first burial occurred in 1965. The cemetery is currently about one-third full.

Makara Cemetery is the first New Zealand cemetery to offer natural burials.

For more information, see: Burials

Ngā Iwi o Te Motu Urupā

A new burial ground, Ngā Iwi o Te Motu Urupā, is now open for Māori and their whānau in the Makara cemetery. The design includes a pathway and a gathering area with two macrocarpa seats. Headstones will be west-facing.

Urupā Information Guide (239KB PDF)

About the Waharoa

The central figure on the front of the waharoa (carved gateway) represents Ue Poto, guardian of everything that dwells beneath the surface of the land. The central figure on the rear represents Tāpai Whakarongo Wānanga, guardian of bones and residue.

The front-facing panels of the maihi (barge boards) display motifs distinctive to the northern and eastern regions of Aotearoa New Zealand. On the reverse are motifs distinctive to the southern and western regions of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The motifs acknowledge the ancestors, people and landmarks of those regions.

The wheku (carved heads) at the feet of the manaia (full-bodied figures) symbolise kotahi te reo (one voice / language). The three prongs at the end of each maihi represent the fingers of the kaitiaki (caretakers) Ue Poto and Tāpai Whakarongo Wānanga.

Location map.

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Location and hours

Street Address Makara Road
Makara
Karori
Hours
Monday – Sunday: Gates are open 7.30am – dusk