Annual Reports

Trustees’ Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2012

This has been a very satisfying year for the Trust. Our finances show income for the year of $185,169. In the last eight years we have raised around $735,000 for the purposes of conservation of historic cemeteries. Our administration expenses are minimal and we still have $83,242 unexpended, including $42,000 for the biography of Robert Arthur Lawson, architect of Dunedin.

This has remained relatively constant and we thank all those who continue to support us.

Cemetery Tours
Tours were held as follows:
19 November 2011 - Larnach’s Tomb Dunedin North Rotary Club tour.
27 November 2011 - Larnach’s Tomb and adjacent graves public tour.

School Liaison
13 May 2011 - Bayfield High School 7th Form - talk to class. Class then visited the Southern cemetery and conducted research into various gravesites and the people involved.

Standing up headstones
This work continues in Dunedin’s Northern and Southern Cemeteries with grants from various local charities.

Headstone Photography Project with Dunedin City Council
The photographing of every headstone in Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery is progressing steadily. As from 21 November 2011 we have had a Task Force Green subsidised person for 26 weeks and were able to interest members of the Dunedin Photographic Society to help out as well. The project is very ably controlled by Donald Warrington.

Chinese Graves Southern Cemetery
Stage 3, has been finished and further funding of $5,000 has been applied for from the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust to fund the interpretation signage. Once these funds are available we will be able to complete the project and hold the official opening.

Larnach’s Tomb
The completed restoration was opened by the Mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull, on Saturday 17 September 2011 at 1.00 pm before a crowd of some 200 people. We handed all attendees a souvenir booklet and most took the opportunity to inspect the interior. Without exception they were blown away by the beauty of the stained glass panels and the quality of the stone work. This project has been a major success for the trust, and records of the project have been lodged with the Hocken Library.

2012 Dunedin Heritage Re-use Awards
On 21 March 2012 the Trust was awarded the Barlow Justice Ltd/NZ Historic Places Trust Heritage Interiors Award for Larnach’s Tomb, Northern Cemetery, Dunedin. The judges comments were: “Attention to detail in all aspects of the project was impressive. This restoration project exhibited a commitment to sound heritage practices and highlights outstanding levels of craftsmanship by local artisans. Larnach’s Tomb restoration delivered a spectacular final product.” We received a beautiful plaque and $1,500.

Morgue Conservation Plan
There has been no progress on this conservation project since March 2011, but we have in hand $1,000 granted by The Dunedin Casino Trust which is held towards the cost of a Conservation Plan, leaving a further $7,000 to be raised.

Speaking Engagements
6 June 2011 NZ Society of Genealogists Conference, Dunedin
20 February 2012 Caversham Baptist Church Ladies Fellowship

Our occasional Newsletters continue to be well-received. They are a very good way of keeping everyone in touch with what is happening in the world of cemetery conservation.
The Newsletter goes to almost 50 bodies responsible for the care and maintenance of cemeteries and approximately 280 interested individuals the length and breadth of New Zealand.

‘Stories in Stone’
Our column in each Saturday’s Otago Daily Times continues to attract much favourable comment and a wide readership. 355 stories have been contributed to date.

Biography of architect Robert Arthur Lawson 1833-1902
We are sponsoring a major literary work on Lawson’s life and work in Otago which is being written by Norman Ledgerwood a retired Dunedin architect. The funding raised for this project is ring-fenced and is only available for the publication, which is due out in October 2012.

Working Parties
30 April 2011 Northern Cemetery
26 November 2011 Northern Cemetery
4 February 2012 Northern Cemetery
10 March 2012 Northern Cemetery

Friends’ Reports
Glenore Cemetery, South Otago (from Alan Williams)
Progress was made at the Cemetery up until Christmas, since then my CPS (Prison) crew has been painting a hall at Owaka, but will return on completion of that program.

We had an issue with access mid last year when I asked the council to discuss a permanent arrangement with the land owner and it turned into a real drama. This has been resolved and all access is now over public property i.e. paper roads. As a result tracks have been or are in the process of being constructed, and we have begun to mark out the plots. During the marking of the plots a plot was discovered that does not fit the cemetery plan from the Hocken, but does put the plot numbers in order.

Mount Street Catholic Cemetery (from Karen Adair)
The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery in Wellington has just completed its second full year of operation. The Friends has an active Committee comprising nine members. Over the past year key areas of work include: assessing gradiometer results and planning for a pathway that avoids areas where known graves are; repairs to headstones (funded from grants from the Lion Foundation and the Community Trust of Wellington); continued maintenance of the Cemetery and weeding including organising volunteer groups to assist; being granted an Archaeological Authority by the Historic Places Trust; continuing to work through burial records from several sources and making these available on the website (; continuing to apply for grants to be put towards specific repair work in the Cemetery as recommended in the Conservation Plan; encouraging membership of the Friends and producing a newsletter.

Drybread Cemetery, Central Otago (from Karen Glassford)
In January 2010 at a committee meeting it was decided that changes had to be made urgently in the cemetery to prevent further damage to graves by the big old trees that were breaking on to them, and had been for many years.

We had $300 in our bank account and no income other than plot sales at $25.00 a plot.
Because I knew someone who worked at the ODT I offered to approach the paper and see if they would run a small article to try and raise awareness of the cemetery and its plight. It was our hope that descendants of those buried there might help us out with donations toward tree removal or undertake individual restoration of family graves.

The response to the article was outstanding, not so much about money although we were donated approx $1,000 from interested people, but in terms of involvement and connections.
Steve Peat read the article and was a qualified arborist and he rang and offered to fell the trees for his petrol cost. This got us going with a vengeance and the transformation was unbelievable.
We also met with Stewart Harvey because of the article and you introduced us to Craig Morton at Dunedin Monumental Masons who came and surveyed the cemetery so we had an inventory we could present for funding. Once Craig had surveyed the job we knew what really needed doing and how much it would cost and it was scary.

Again because of the publicity it was suggested that we should apply for funding with the Central Lakes Trust so we went for broke and drew up a wish list of things we would like to achieve in the cemetery and I put in an application for $92,000 which included lane fencing, signage, decorative gates, and a Kiosk, as well as full restoration of the graves. I put in a big application because you never get all the money you are applying for and I thought if they could see just how big the job was they might give us the $20,000 we needed just to make the graves stable and stop further deterioration. We were blown away when they looked favourably on us and gave us the whole $58,000 we needed for restoration of the graves.
At the same time the committee was splitting the felled trees for firewood which we are still selling for income.

Restoration of the graves will be complete in the next month and we have just received notice that we have been successful in applying for funding from the Otago Community Trust for a new fence around the cemetery with a $7,000 grant.

As well we have been part of a successful joint application made by the Central Otago District Council to have the ground mapped by geophysical survey to establish exactly where everyone is. This should be started in May if all goes well then we will put the new fence up.

Because of the publicity the paper continued to give us, our burial records are now much more complete and we have tidied up 95% of the incomplete records we were concerned about, and they are now computerised in spreadsheet form. I have not as yet got a web page up and running because I just haven’t worked out how to do it and don’t know anyone that can help me either, but this is the logical next step.

We have been working with Walking Access New Zealand and they are making us signage to help people find their way to the cemetery and spell out that it is public access through a private working farm.

Linwood Cemetery Christchurch
1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012 Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch
After the decision to carry on as a Trust following the devastation of the February 2011 earthquakes, we have put our efforts into publicising the increasing heritage value of Linwood Cemetery. As more buildings in the 'Red Zone' are demolished, we are proud to have the people who designed, built and lived in those lost heritage buildings, even though they may now be interred in severely damaged plots with broken monuments.

We have continued to hold our 4 seasonal working bees and although they don't attract that many people and the area we can cover is small, we are philosophical about it. Our Register of Friends continues to grow by a few supporters each month and existing Friends are renewing their commitment to us.

We won a community prize of paint from Dulux NZ to paint a 'trompe l'oeil' of the Peacock Mausoleum on the protective plywood surround that was attracting graffiti. Our Chair Anne's artwork has exceeded all our expectations not only in the workmanship but also how much it 'upgrades' the cemetery. We will have an unveiling on 26th May despite still needing the signwriting to be done followed by a tour of graves connected to the 'Red Zone'.

We have published our third newsletter and the City Library has asked for each copy for their files as a 'publication of local significance'.

Both the painting of the Mausoleum, the Wednesday Walking group (where we are re-photographing the grave plots) and our other events show us how much we are appreciated by the local community and how many actually do care and pick up litter or do a bit of weeding as they go around the cemetery. It’s a boost we really need right now as the City Council have been unable to meet with us and any review of the Conservation Plan we expect will be long delayed.

Our second ANZAC Commemoration on 22nd April was an astounding success. We had about 50 people join us to remember those who have carried out military service and have a memorial in Linwood Cemetery. A simple ceremony with a reading of each of the now 300 names, a bugler playing the Last Post, and a young piper a lament, was well received and we gained much publicity and interest. This has been underpinned by almost completing the researching of the military records for the Roll of Honour on our website.

Despite such challenging times and being a small Trust, we are doing our best keeping active in the debate about heritage preservation and encouraging people into the cemetery, which in turn is seeing descendants maintain and restore their ancestors graves in the cemetery albeit one by one.

Alexandra Gilbert
The Friends of Linwood Cemetery Trust
03 381 4171

Conference 2013
Trustees are planning to hold a major conference in 2013 on cemetery heritage and conservation topics and what they mean for New Zealand.

It has been another very busy year, with Larnach’s Tomb being our major project, and with conservation enquiries coming in regularly from all over New Zealand.

The Christchurch earthquakes dealt a body blow to cemetery and heritage conservation in that area, and now the whole country faces another crisis in heritage conservation with the spreading of new earthquake building strengthening regulations. It seems that historic churches will be amongst the first casualties, suffering as they do from falling congregations and a massive rise in EQ insurance costs. The loss of these iconic heritage structures would sever New Zealanders from their past in ways we have not thought through properly as a country.

I extend my thanks to my trustees and management board, and also to Dunedin City Council Councillors, Alan Matchett, Team Leader, Botanic Gardens and Cemeteries, and Cemeteries staff, and the local office of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust for their support.

Historic cemeteries have become increasingly important to the spirit, life, economy, and sense of history of their local community. They have become valued parts of the fabric of local history and their conservation is a way to recognize contributions made by earlier generations.

Stewart Harvey
Chairman, 6 May 2011