Scattered Ashes Cause Angst in Rose Garden

21 April 2010

The scattering of people's ashes on rose beds at the Botanic Garden is causing problems for gardening staff and roses alike.

Human ashes are increasingly being found on flower beds in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Garden staff say it is not only upsetting but is actually detrimental to the roses.

Paul Andrews, the Council's Parks and Gardens Manager, says the ashes contain a high concentration of phosphate which is not good for the health of the roses.

"We understand people are only trying to carry out the wishes of their deceased loved ones by scattering their ashes, however the Botanic Garden or Lady Norwood Rose Garden is not the right place to do it.

"If people do want to scatter ashes, an application must be made to the City Council as not all sites across the city are suitable. The application form can be found under the Commemorative Policy on this website. The policy outlines the process for scattering and interment of ashes on public land."

The policy states the following places are unsuitable for scattering and interment activities:

  • areas of cultural or heritage significance (eg Māori heritage sites)
  • high public use sites (eg sportsfields or botanic gardens)
  • sites that have plans for extensive upgrades, renovations or excavations
  • unsafe sites (eg steep hillsides).

Sites that are deemed suitable for scattering or burying ashes, or burying of placentas, are revegetation areas and parks and reserves with low to moderate public use. Karori Cemetery also has a specific ash scattering area. There are no controls on the scattering of ashes at sea.

The Council also has a commemorative tree scheme where members of the public can bury a placenta, or scatter or bury ashes during the tree planting. There are four sites in the city where commemorative trees can be planted:

  • Charles Plimmer Park in Mt Victoria
  • Willowbank Park in Tawa
  • Karori Cemetery
  • Makara Cemetery

"Planting a tree is a great way to honour a deceased loved one. These four sites are approved for scattering ashes with a tree planting but we do need to be advised prior to the planting if ashes (or placenta) will be scattered or buried," says Mr Andrews.