A team of six Wellington City Council kaimahi (staff) is responsible for looking after and maintaining the grounds of four cemeteries, in Karori, Mākara, Tawa and Bolton Street.
This small team also conducts all the burials and cremations and supports the funeral and memorial services that take place across these sites.
Jayden Hamilton, who’s worked as a Wellington Cemetery Technician since April 2022, says it’s a unique job – a mix of working with your hands in solitude in nature, and being there to support the needs of people who are saying their goodbyes to loved ones.
“You take little moments from it. At a recent burial, the family wanted to backfill. The dad started with the shovel, and his son, who was two or three years old, came along with his little dump truck toy and started helping. It was pretty special. It’s really nice when whānau can be hands-on with the process.”
Jayden says a typical day for the Cemetery Technicians begins with a team meeting where they lay out all the tasks that need doing.
“Mainly at Mākara we’re dealing with burials. So we’re digging the graves, preparing for the services, and making sure the space looks good for the family and funeral director. Mākara is quite hilly and being able to carry a casket safely can need a bit of forethought.”