Annual Reports

Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2006

This has been a very good year for the Trust. Our finances show income for the year of $27,938. In the last three years we have raised $89,138 for the purposes of conservation of historic cemeteries. Our administration expenses are minimal and we still have $39,949 unexpended, including $25,000 for the Chinese Graves Project in Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery.

This year we commenced a drive to gain members to support the work of the Trust. We were pleased to have received $1,775 in corporate and individual memberships. This was a real boost to our confidence.

Conservation Management Plan Northern and Southern Cemeteries
The preparation of Landscape Plans for Northern and Southern began in October 2005 and should be finalized very soon. These plans will bring together the “on the ground” recommendations from the Conservation Management Plan and provide an agreed blueprint for public consultation and our future action.

Cemetery Tours
Tours were held as follows during the year:
April 11 2005 Over 60’s Club Tour of Northern
May 15 2005 Tour of Southern in association with Otago Settlers’ Museum
October 15 2005 Celtic Tour of Southern in association with OSM
October 16 2005 Tour of Northern with Cargills Castle Trust

Standing up headstones
Another 25 have been stood up, and further work will be undertaken in the current year.

Chinese Graves Southern
A working party was held on Saturday 5 November 2005 to clear the overgrown area of the Chinese section in readiness for conservation work on this area of some 114 grave sites. Funding for the conservation of this section has been generously provided by the Chinese Poll Tax Trust.

Larnach’s Tomb
Funding has been secured from the McKay Bequest Fund administered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Otago Branch Committee, to enable us to commission a Conservation Plan and Specification of work required to stabilize and conserve the fabric of the tomb which is in a dire state.

Speaking Engagements
This year we have spoken to the following groups –

Otago Settlers Association Ten O’clock Club
Andersons Bay Tainui Ladies Probus Club
Dunedin North Probus Club
NZ Monumental Masons Association Conference
Rotary Club of Mosgiel
Otago Southland Chinese Association re Chinese graves conservation
Probus Club of Mosgiel
St Clair Ladies Club
South Dunedin Ladies Probus Club

This list indicates that we have communicated our aims and objects to well over 500 persons.

Our Newsletters continue to be well-received and this year we sent them out in June 2005, November 2005 and January 2006. It is a very good way of keeping everyone in touch with what is happening in the world of cemetery conservation.

Stories in Stone
Our column in each Saturday’s Otago Daily Times continues to attract favourable comment and wide readership.

Magazine articles
During the year we had major coverage “Heritage Matters” magazine.

This has been our worst year for vandalism in Dunedin’s cemeteries for a long time. First Green Island got hit by graffiti artists, but police managed to apprehend the culprits - and they apologized! The next episode was in the Southern Cemetery over Waitangi Day weekend when some 20 marble headstones were toppled and smashed in a senseless and frenzied attack. No-one has been apprehended and the reinstatement cost will be some $15,000.

Heritage Week October 2005
We took this opportunity to make a public presentation of “Do’s and Don’ts of Cemetery Conservation”. This was to be held in the Linwood Cemetery but was unfortunately rained out.Addington Historic Cemetery and Linwood Historic Cemetery
Conservation Plans have been completed for both these cemeteries and Christchurch City Council and staff are to be complimented on their pro-active approach to cemetery conservation..

Marlborough District Council
In August, at the invitation of Marlborough District Council we carried out a survey of the major cemeteries in the district and provided a report on their condition and conservation measures needed. We also took the opportunity to visit some cemeteries in Nelson City in conjunction with their Cemeteries Officer. There are many lovely historic cemeteries in Nelson/Marlborough and the local authorities are pro-active in their conservation.

Central Otago District Council
Consultations were held over the Clyde Cemetery and what should be done to ascertain the location of burials from early times.

It has been a very busy year with conservation enquiries coming in regularly from all over New Zealand. I extend my thanks to my trustees without whom we would not have been able to maintain our present momentum. David White has resigned as a trustee because of pressure of work and change of lifestyle. He was one of our foundation trustees and his help over four years has been invaluable. We were fortunate to be able to appoint a new trustee in the person of Dr Chris Rudd, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago, and he brings a new energy and enthusiasm to the Trust.

Thanks also to Dunedin City Council councillors, and Alan Matchett and staff, for their support in so many ways.

Historic cemeteries are important to the spirit, life, economy, and sense of history of their local community. Investment in them is a way to recognize contributions made by earlier generations.

Stewart Harvey
28 April 2006