Annual Reports

Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2004


The Trustees have pleasure in reporting to you on the progress of the Trust in its second year of operation. This has been a year in which we increased our liaison with local authorities throughout New Zealand. Our Newsletter now goes to all local authorities and a great number of other interested parties.

We have attended local authority heritage planning meetings and established links with many people who are keen to advance our cause and take an interest in their local cemetery.

Our major focus has been the successful raising sufficient funds to commission the Conservation Plans for Dunedin’s Northern and Southern Cemeteries, and we expect to have the plans completed this year. The plans will establish the best practice in cemetery conservation and will be a first for New Zealand.
Conservation Plans

In January 2004 we were very pleased to be able to let the contract for preparation of conservation plans for Dunedin’s Northern and Southern cemeteries to heritage conservation consultants Musecape Pty of Sydney, Australia. The principals, Chris and Margaret Betteridge, were chosen for their depth of experience in cemetery conservation, and they began work on 18 April in Dunedin. This plan will form the basis for all future conservation work in both cemeteries and give us a valuable insight into the intricacies of cemetery conservation for use in advising others throughout New Zealand. The list of organisations which have generously supported this project is included under “Community Support”.

Working Parties

The Rotary Club of Dunedin North has continued its involvement in providing working parties in the Northern Cemetery cutting out wilding trees and other rogue vegetation, and with work to maintain the situation.

In the Southern Cemetery similar working parties have continued to remove wilding trees and rogue vegetation.

All work in these cemeteries is on hold until we have the conservation plans in hand.

On 20 March 2004 Dunedin North Rotary Club and Port Chalmers Lions Club worked in the Port Chalmers Cemetery beginning the usual work of cutting out wilding trees and vegetation.

Assistance is acknowledged and appreciated from Malcam Charitable Trust, DOC Conservation Corps, Rotary Club of Dunedin North, NZ Society of Genealogists Dunedin Branch, John McGlashan College students, and Otago Boys High School students.

Cemetery Tours

In the last twelve months we have run the following very successful tours:

On Sunday 3 August 2003 at 2pm, as part of DOC’s Conservation Week programme, we introduced 93 Dunedin citizens to some of the history and lives of 23 fascinating personages buried in the Southern cemetery.

On Wednesday 6 August 2003 we conducted a group of 12 trainee nurses on a tour of the Southern Cemetery as an introduction to death and dying as part of their course requirement.

On Sunday October 12 2003 at 2pm we hosted a very successful history tour of gravesites in the Northern cemetery which was attended by 58 persons.

On Thursday November 6 2003 at 5pm 10 members of The Rotary Club of Dunedin South were introduced to the history which is resident in the Southern Cemetery.

In December, in conjunction with Dunedin Visitor Centre, we tried to interest cruise ship visitors in tours of the Southern Cemetery.

On Monday 22 March 2004 we had an entertaining historical tour of the Southern Cemetery for 25 members of the “Over 60s Club.

Tours have brought us a total of $1,820 all of which is being used for conservation purposes.

Our tour guides are qualified by virtue of their passion for things historical and our sincere thanks go to them for their support and assistance in these tours.


We have produced another brochure with the title “Who we are and what we do”, which outlines the reason for having a Trust involved in cemetery conservation.

TrustPower Award

Otago Branch Historic Places Trust Otago Branch nominated us for a Conservation Award, and we were pleased to receive an award of $250 from TrustPower for our cemetery conservation efforts.

Dunedin City Council

We have made submissions on both the Annual Planning process and the Heritage Planning strategy.
Our thanks must go to Dunedin City Council officers for their practical support in very many ways.

Community Support

Besides the on-ground support from community groups we have received the following funds:
Dunedin North Rotary Club - grant 1,000
NZ Master Monumental Masons Association 200
Dunedin City Council 1,000
AAW Jones Charitable Trust 5,000
Alexander McMillan Trust 5,000
Community Trust of Otago 15,000
Stout Trust 10,000

We very much appreciate the support of all of the above organisations without whose generous assistance no progress could be possible. All of the monies donated will be used in the preparation of the Conservation Plans which we have provisionally allocated some $38,000 to cover all aspects of this process.


We maintain active liaison with, and receive endorsement from, The New Zealand Historic Places Trust, New Zealand Monumental Masons Association, Ministry of Culture and Heritage and department of Conservation. We have good relationships with The National Trust of Australia, and both their Melbourne and Sydney Cemeteries Officers have been very helpful.


Stephen Deed a student of Dr. Alexander Trapeznik of the History Department at the University of Otago has made very good progress on research for his M.A. thesis on Cemeteries in New Zealand. He has agreed that this will be made available to the Trust for publishing in 2004 as a definitive work on the topic “Cemeteries – Their Role in New Zealand’s Heritage”.


We still believe that it is essential that we introduce younger people to the historical resource which resides in our historic cemeteries. However we have not made any further progress in this area this year, but we are carrying the matter forward and hope to allocate resources to it this coming year.

Public Relations

We have a full-on year in our endeavours to spread our message.

Relationships with the Friends of Bolton Street were strengthened by a visit to Dunedin by their chairman David Dunsheath on Friday 18 July 2003.

In September we recorded an interview with Jim Sullivan which was replayed over National Radio on the Wayne Mouat’s In Touch With New Zealand radio programme, and on Sounds Historical on Sunday night.

On Wednesday 24 September 2003 we attended a meeting of the Lawrence Community Board and visited their historic cemetery. This cemetery, in our opinion, has great historic value and requires a Conservation Management Plan to be agreed by the community as soon as possible. We are advising them on a continuing basis.

During the year I have visited with the Auckland City Council, Christchurch City Council, Waitaki District Council, and Timaru County Council, and in all cases established a good working relationship with their cemeteries and planning officers.

We have attended a heritage planning meeting of the Waitaki District Council in Oamaru and made a strong presentation on the value of cemeteries as heritage assets.

On Wednesday October 15 2003 we spoke to The Rotary Club of Dunedin South and a few days later we were pleased to give a number of the Rotarians a tour of the Southern Cemetery.

On Wednesday 3 March 2004 we spoke to the “Over 60s Club at Burns Hall to a very good reception. They were so keen that they organised themselves to have a tour of the Southern Cemetery next month.


We have instituted an occasional newsletter this year and two issues have so far been sent out using both email and post. This is a great way of keeping in touch with all persons of like mind on cemetery conservation matters.

Best Practice Statement

We have in preparation a Statement of Best Practice in the conservation of headstones and gravesites which we will publish as a guide to local authorities and monumental masons.

Friends Groups

We are keen to encourage the establishment of Friends groups for each historic cemetery. With their focus, Friends groups have a vital role to play in cemetery conservation. It appears that we will inaugurate our first group in Lawrence this month. Friends groups are particularly valuable in that they bring local knowledge and are able to monitor the activities in their local cemetery and advise on best practice.


It has been a very active year and we are shortly to be involved in the culmination of much of our effort over the last twelve months - our conservation plans for two Dunedin cemeteries. Bringing this project to a successful conclusion will occupy us for all of the coming year.

I must again thank my fellow Trustees. Their experienced guidance has enabled us to progress all matters in a thoroughly professional and consistent manner.

Stewart Harvey
Chairman 29 April 2004