Annual Reports

Trustees’ Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2013

This has been another satisfying year for the Trust. Our finances show income for the year of $20,227. This is well down on previous years because we have not undertaken any major new fund-raising this year. In the last nine years we have raised around $750,000 for the purposes of conservation of historic cemeteries. Our administration expenses are minimal and we still have $76,839 unexpended, including $27,000 for the biography of Robert Arthur Lawson, architect of Dunedin, which is due for publication in June 2013.

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

Cemetery Tours
No tours were offered this year except those logged under Larnach’s Tomb below.

School Liaison
There has been no further activity in this field in this year. From talking with teacher Chris Homer at Bayfield High I learn that there have been major changes in the history curriculum, with realignment of standards giving teachers more opportunity to teach what subjects they like, leading to decontextualized exam questions. He will be visiting the Southern Cemetery again later in 2013.

Friends Groups for Northern and Southern Cemeteries
In spite of a strong move by trustees to establish these two groups no progress has been made.

National Conference
We have had a desire to host a national conference on Cemetery Conservation for some years but have been unable to progress this to date.

Standing up headstones and removing trees
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 still progressing steadily. The project is very ably controlled by Donald Warrington who confidently expects the project to be completed this year.

Chinese Graves Southern Cemetery
The Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust funded the interpretation signage and it was installed in March 2013. This completed the project and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull performed a dedication ceremony at 2pm on Sunday 7 April 2013, which in Chinese tradition is Ching Ming Day or ''tomb-sweeping day'', the day to visit ancestors' graves and leave flowers or nuts. We were pleased to welcome two officials from the Chinese Consul’s Office in Christchurch, one of whom spoke of the value of the project in glowing terms.

Larnach’s Tomb
The completed restoration was on Saturday 17 September 2011.
Since that date DCC have been plagued by perimeter beam false alarm activations and call-out charges such that in December 2012 they in their wisdom shut down the perimeter beams system inside the fence, and added another detector inside the door. However when we checked on site to see exactly what was happening we found that both touring cameras were not operating correctly, thus not recording activity around the area, and probably had not been for some 12 months!. ADT had them restored under warranty and they operated satisfactorily from 26 March until 15 April when they were again detected as not touring properly. ADT have been advised again. This is highly unsatisfactory, both from a security point of view and in view of the fact that DCC are supposed to be in charge of ‘maintenance’ for the tomb.
A professionally designed interpretation panel was erected in April 2013.

Trustee Brian Williscroft guided tours through the tomb as follows:
22 April 2012
30 September 2012
28 October 2012
9 November 2012 with Peter Mackenzie

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. A viable reason, a purpose, for its restoration, is still needed.

Speaking Engagements
There have been no speaking engagements in this year.

Our occasional Newsletters continue to be well-received.

‘Stories in Stone’
Our column in each Saturday’s Otago Daily Times continued to attract much favourable comment and a wide readership, but it was decided that in the light of difficulties in providing the stories regularly week after week, that this community service would cease at the end of 2012.

Biography of architect Robert Arthur Lawson 1833-1902
The work has been completed by the author Norman Ledgerwood, edited by Richard Stedman, and under the guiding hand of Barbara Larson (late of Longacre Press Dunedin) we expect to publish in June 2013. It has been a long and convoluted road to this point but the resulting document looks magnificent, and we hope for a major launch function to celebrate it.

Working Parties
There have been no working parties in this year.

Our website was revamped during the year and is now up with the very best. It contains a wealth of information on cemetery conservation and the activities of the trust. It is a valuable resource and information reference for many people from throughout New Zealand.

Friends’ Reports
Mount Street Catholic Cemetery (from Karen Adair)
The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery has now completed its third year of operation.. The Friends has a very active committee of nine members. Over the past 12 months key activities have been: working with the Wellington City Council to construct the main path of the Cemetery so as to avoid known graves (based on gradiometer results); re-establishing the original entrance way at the Waiteata Rd entrance; repairs to headstones (funded by the Lion Foundation); repair of a wooden railing (funded by the Wellington City Council); continual maintenance of the Cemetery and weeding including organising volunteer groups and a school group from Bishop Viard College to assist; continuing to work through burial records from several sources and updating these on the website (; planning a perimeter fence and signage; the introduction of a new memorial (for Fr Borjon SM and Br Deodat FMS) and our first interpretative panel; encouraging membership of the Friends and producing a newsletter.

The Friends of the Bolton Street Memorial Park (from Priscilla Williams)
The Friends have continued their three main areas of work - research into the burials, maintenance and repair of the memorials and publicity for the cemetery. We were particularly pleased to complete the repairs to the Gillespie grave, which is historically important and also challenging because of its delaminating sandstone. This is listed as a war grave and funding was provided by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. As well as other masonry repairs, six wooden grave markers were also restored, thus completing work on all the wooden memorials which required treatment. The Bolton St Cemetery is fortunate to have a collection of about thirty of these old and unusual memorials, made from totara. We have further developed the burial list on our website in order to give the text of inscriptions but this work will take another year to complete. In the meantime we receive a steady stream of enquiries about our burial list of some 8,500 names. Working bees during the warmer months keep the cemetery looking cared for and occasionally provide finds of buried tombstones. Future challenges include the repair of wooden and iron railings and more modern mapping systems. One sad event during the past year was the death of Margaret Alington, writer of "Unquiet Earth", the history of the cemetery. Without her persistent and professional work, the Cemetery would not be the heritage treasure that it is today.

The Friends of Mount Street Cemetery have a smaller area but a much more challenging one due to the past neglect of this historic site. An important recent milestone was a geophysical survey of the whole cemetery using a magnetic gradiometer and GPS unit. The maps produced from the survey now show both the marked and the unmarked graves which enabled the main path to be realigned in 2012 so that it avoided passing directly over graves. Steps have made the gradient easier and the lower entrance was moved to its original location. Several tombstones were repaired and also one of the three old wooden railings. A lottery grant was obtained for fencing much of the cemetery and reinstatement of the upper entrance gate. At the highest point of the cemetery the area around the three Priests' graves has been rejuvenated and a memorial tablet installed to another Priest and a lay brother lost at sea. Further wilding tree clearances are opening up the views over the cemetery.

Drybread Cemetery, Central Otago (from Karen Glassford)
It has been a very steady last 12 months and on Tuesday 7th of May, Stewart, Craig, Tony, & I all met at the cemetery to have walk-around and a final look at all the restoration work that has now been officially completed. Again we are very grateful to the Central Lakes Trust for their grant of $58,000.00 that made this project possible. We have had nothing but positive feedback from visitors who are amazed by the transformation of the cemetery.

This year we have also had a successful grant from the Otago Community Trust who graciously gave us $7,000.00 for fencing of the laneway to the cemetery and for the cemetery surround. The laneways are complete but we have not yet fenced around the cemetery as we think it would be easier to install the concrete strip that will be laid for the new row of plots we are opening up, before we close it in.

Walking Access New Zealand was very helpful in providing us with signage in conjunction with the Central Otago District Council (CODC). Now visitors have clearer access guides, making people more confident about visiting as well as understanding their rights and responsibilities when visiting the cemetery, including ‘No Dogs’ as we are on a working farm.

We took part in the group geophysical survey of Central Otago Cemeteries that was arranged by Janice Remnant of the CODC in Ranfurly, to try and establish the use of graves without complete records or that we were suspicious of, as our records are partial and many children in particular have been missed and are only coming to light with their parents. We have ended up with 50 odd graves that we have no records for and a very different looking cemetery plan in places.

Presently we are in the process of gathering quotes for the concrete strip that will be placed down the new line of plots for headstones, and hope to fundraise and apply for some funding to complete this project in the next twelve months.

Linwood Cemetery Christchurch
Report for May 2012 - May 2013 (from Alexandra Gilbert)

The Friends of Linwood Cemetery Charitable Trust are half way through their seventh year of operation and the Trust is now made up of six Trustees; four of whom are original members. With researchers and the public attending our working bees, we have given 1600.25 volunteer hours to Linwood Cemetery during the past 12 months.

We have had to have an enormous amount of patience due to the needs of Earthquake Recovery and deliberately re-focused our activities to those encouraging people into the cemetery and supporting those looking for their ancestors. We believe we have seen an increase in interest in genealogy since the earthquakes and that it is fulfilling an emotional and spiritual need in our severely shaken community.

The appointment of a new Cemetery Administrator and the public hearing on the revision of the Cemetery By-Laws and Master Plan seem to have re-engaged the City Councillors and re-defined our cemeteries as of being a valuable contribution to the image of the 'Garden City' re-build. We look forward to being able to restore grave plots in the cemetery soon, following an apparent sea change in the CCC.

We have continued to give as much time as we individually can to promote the ever-increasing heritage value of Linwood Cemetery as 'old Christchurch' is demolished in preparation for 'The Rebuild'. We have held a significant number of events in the cemetery, and in the community as it re-establishes itself, with positive results.

Vandalism in the cemetery continues to be very demoralising and a waste of volunteer time and energy which could have been put to better use.

We are still looking for someone with the technical ability to help us develop more efficient ways of storing and being able to use our digital data and make it available on the website and we continue to struggle getting the PayPal facility working on our website. Although new distinctive paths have replaced the old tar seal ones by the CCC, they are of poor quality, and the 'Up the Hill' regularly floods.

Please refer to our website for further details of our activities or contact us at phone: 03 381 4171.

Achievements (in no particular order)
Plaque installed on the first grave in the cemetery - B2P1FREEMAN (July 2012).
Donation from The Canterbury Mountaineering Club towards the restoration of B18P227 DOBSON (the surveyor of Arthur's Pass) (February 2013)
Stonemasons agree to repair the earthquake damaged headstones in Block 29 that were restored by them for the Trust in 2009, without charge to us, but over time.
Unveiling of the artwork on the Peacock Mausoleum (May 2012). Sign-writing completed and graffiti-resistant coating applied (September 2012) - all at no cost to the Trust.
Contributing in detail to the revision of the Cemetery By-Laws and Cemetery Master Plan (December 2012) and the public hearing (April 2013)
Holding four community working bees; one per season, and having our Head Gardener continually working in the cemetery as and when she can.
Hosting four community service opportunities for large groups of 18-25 year olds from the Army Development Unit, Burnham.
Attending 3 local Community Fairs, community events and monthly Community Board Forum.
Hosting tours by local historian Richard Greenaway - 'Red Zone Tour' (May 2012), 'Emancipated Women (October 2012), 'Early Settlers' (February 2013)
Running 5 Kids Fest (winter school holiday) sessions for 5-13 year olds (July 2012)
Giving talks (Canterbury Early Settlers and Pioneers Association (June 2012), NZSG (July 2012) WEA (October/November 2012), Plains FM (October 2012)
Holding our third ANZAC Commemoration (Sunday 21st April 2013).
Granting Tom Adam from City Care the status of life-time Honorary Friend (February 2013)
Issuing our newsletter Grave Concerns in October 2012 (Issue 4) and February 2013 (Issue 5).
Contributing articles to local media.
Negotiating for a University of Canterbury History student for community placement in July 2013.
Maintaining our web presence, Twitter and Facebook.
Regularly backing up our digital records and storing a copy out of Christchurch.
Resurrecting the 2007 Oral History Project with funding for equipment and expenses from the CCC.
Identifying and reporting 170 errors on the CCC Libraries Cemetery Database.
Continuing to report damage in the cemetery through the CCC Information Line.
Accompanying the CWG representative on her 2-yearly inspection (May 2012)
Continuing to attract new 'Friends' with very low attrition at renewal time.

Alexandra Gilbert
The Friends of Linwood Cemetery Trust
03 381 4171

It has been a not-so-busy year, with conservation enquiries tapering off, and the completion of the Chinese Graves restoration being our only major project.

Largely the loss of momentum, evidenced above, culminating in this year, has been the result of health problems impacting on my ability to energise the cause.

Since our inception in 2001 the cause of cemetery conservation has gained momentum throughout New Zealand. Nowadays local councils and heritage consultants routinely carry our heritage assessments of cemeteries, local friends groups are also actively caring for local burial grounds. Falling outside their ambits are the churchyards and lone graves with which we are still actively involved.

Our role as the independent authoritative body for conservation of headstones and graveyards is still seen as being very necessary.

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 are now seen being of increasing importance to the spirit, life, economy, and sense of history of their local community. They have become valued repositories of local history and their conservation is a way to recognize contributions made by earlier generations.

Stewart Harvey
Chairman, 10 May 2013