Annual Reports

Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2007

This has been an excellent year for the Trust. Our finances show income for the year of $35,889. In the last four years we have raised $125,027for the purposes of conservation of historic cemeteries. Our administration expenses are minimal and we still have $51,270 unexpended, including $25,000 for the Chinese Graves Project in Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery.

During the year we took the opportunity of reconstituting ourselves as a “Board of Management” composed of all trustees and some co-opted persons. This enables us to easily add to our expertise by involving people with special skills and an interest in cemetery conservation.

Pleasingly this has remained at previous levels.

Conservation Management Plan Northern Cemetery
There has been no progress yet on implementing this Plan.

Conservation Management Plan Southern Cemetery
Our lobbying of Councillors and presentation at LTCCP hearings was rewarded with Council allocating $25,000 toward cemetery conservation at the Southern Cemetery, the fund to be managed by Community and Recreation Services. A list of trees to be removed has been agreed upon, and a hedge replacement programme on the Eglinton Road boundary is in train.

Cemetery Tours
Tours were held as follows during the year:
April 9, 2006 OSM 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
February 17, 2007 NZSG Balclutha
March 13, 2007 Dunedin East Ladies Group
March 25, 2007 Heritage Week Musicians Tour Northern

Standing up headstones
This work continues with grants from various sources, but we were very pleased to receive a grant of $11,000 from the St Kilda Sports Society to begin reinstatement of the stones vandalized in 2006 in the Southern Cemetery.

Chinese Graves Southern Cemetery
Surplus trees have been removed from the site and stonemasons have started work on restoration and conservation of the headstones. A major feature has appeared in the Otago Daily Times back-grounding the project

Larnach’s Tomb
A Conservation Plan and Specification of work required to stabilize and conserve the fabric of the tomb was completed by Conservation Architect Ian Bowman. His recommendations were used to secure a quotation for the work. Bingham & Co quoted for the stone work and Peter McKenzie quoted for stained glass reinstatement. All-up it looked like some $350,000 would require to be raised. After further discussions with Guy Williams, of New Zealand Historic Places Trust Dunedin Office, it was decided to investigate the structure in more depth, take more close-up photos of work required and ask Binghams to fine-tune their quotation. This is ongoing.

Morgue Conservation
Salmond & Associates have inspected the morgue and estimated the costs to prepare a conservation report. Funding is to be sought.

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

8 May, 2006 Students for Environment Action
18 June, 2006 Taieri Historical Society
3 July, 2006 Friends of Bolton Street Memorial Park
2 August, 2006 NZSG Dunedin Branch
30 August, 2006 Shetland Society
10 October, 2006 Dunedin East Ladies group
23 October, 2006 Naseby Vision
9 December, 2006 Heritage Rose Society Conference
6 March, 2007 St Kilda Rotary Club

This list indicates people are still interested in our work and that we have community support for our aims and objects.

Our Newsletters continue to be well-received. 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.

Lawson Book
Author Neville Peat has agreed to write the biography of Robert Arthur Lawson, architect, and Longacre Press have quoted to publish it. We need to find some $42,500 to bring this project to fruition.

Magazine articles
During the year we had major coverage in “City Talk”, the DCC community magazine.

Community Patrols
We have established a relationship with Dunedin North and Dunedin South Community Patrols whereby they have each added a nightly sweep through the Southern Cemetery and Northern Cemetery whilst they are on patrol.

Wooden Gravemarker
The last wooden grave marker extant in the Northern Cemetery has been conserved and re-erected in sympathetic fashion.

Portobello Cemetery
Working parties composed of local enthusiasts have removed all wilding flax bushes and trees and it now looks magnificent.

Working Parties
13 May, 2006 Southern Cemetery Chinese section
18 November, 2006 Portobello Cemetery
27 November, 2006 Southern Cemetery Eglinton Road bank with Conservation Corps
10 February, 2007 Portobello Cemetery
24 February, 2007 Portobello Cemetery

St John’s Churchyard Waikouaiti
We commissioned for the Duncan family the building of a replacement for an historic wooden grave fence.

Mount Street Catholic Cemetery
A local committee has been formed and is pursuing the conservation of this cemetery.

Following moves by Napier City Council to erect a high mesh fence adjacent to the historic Napier Cemetery we made representations and asked for it to be removed. The upshot was a major public uproar developed and NCC had to considerably modify their plans.

In June 2006 we carried out a major survey of the condition of Purewa Anglican Cemetery and reported on the measures required to conserve the headstones and graves.

St Stephens Churchyard, Parnell
A inspection meeting was held with interested persons in the churchyard.

Central Otago
Naseby Vision have endorsed the conservation of their historic cemetery, and are beginning the process of specification and fundraising.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust
A working relationship has been established with the new Chief Executive, Bruce Chapman.

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 resigned as a trusteeduring the year 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, Team Leader, Botanic Gardens and Cemeteries, and Cemeteries staff, for their support and help 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
17th May 2007