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Kioreroa Cemetery Free Space page

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1882 to 1946
Location: Whangarei, Northland, New Zealandmap
Surnames/tags: Cemeteries New_Zealand Whangarei
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Kioreroa Cemetery

Kioreroa Cemetery is one of the earliest cemeteries in the Whangarei District. 2.4ha, or six acres, was set aside to incorporate up to 4700 plots in 1880. It opened in 1882 and was closed in 1946. It is the last resting place of over 800 of Whangarei's earliest residents. The cemetery was divided into four distinctive quarters according to religion – a large section each for Anglicans and Presbyterians, a smaller section for Catholics and the final segment for Methodists, Baptists and the public. Initially the cemetery was well used but by the 1930's it had become overgrown and neglected with groundwater problems, weeds and grazing cattle damaging headstones and graves. The start date and end dates of the cemetery vary according to which website you consult. WikiTree has used the dates provided by the Council.

In 1961, the Council of the time applied for an Act of Parliament to remove the headstones for easier maintenance, which was granted on condition that trees were cleared, lawns were sown and a memorial erected recording the names of those buried in the cemetery. This was not carried out and the site remained neglected. The Council tried a forestry venture at the disused cemetery. Some headstones had been taken away by families and some were buried en masse. Fragments from others ended up in a seawall at Onerahi Beach.

In 2007, Council allocated funds for the improvement of the site and installation of a memorial.

A memorial design competition generated significant interest and allowed for community input into the process. The initial stages of this project were completed in 2009 with the installation of the memorial. The memorial was unveiled in October 2009 by members of the Whangarei community. Additional names and corrections were affixed to the memorail in 2014. The Whangarei Council records that an ongoing programme of maintenance, restoration and information resources has been developed.

Some of the buried headstones bulldozed in 1961 were rediscovered when unearthed by contractors working on the memorial in 2011. Meanwhile, some residents believed that some of the businesses in nearby Gumdigger Place were built on graves - a possibility the Council Cemetery Manager did not rule out. It was stated that the cemetery had been closed not because it was full but because the boggy ground had rendered it unsuitable for burials. Some of the land had been sold. The Kioreroa Cemetery was also a dumping ground for many headstones from the Mission Ground Cemetery when they were completely removed from "Tombstone Alley".

Council records show 869 people were buried there. However, 1100 plaques were initially put on the memorial because of confusion over correct names in cemetery and council records.

Kioreroa Cemetery is situated on State Highway 1 (directly opposite the Gull Service Station) south of Whangarei. Other location descriptions give Otaika Road, Whangarei next to Harvey Norman


Notable Interments

There is 1 Commonwealth burial of the 1914-1918 war here, that of Howard Franklin Chetham who died on Friday, 1 November 1918 of influenza (during the Influenza epidemic).

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