Teaching Resources


Investigate a famous NZer or an unusual event and send us your findings!

Is your school located close to a cemetery? Do you know of a major event in the past in which someone, buried in your local cemetery, was involved? Do you have a very important person in your cemetery? Then why not find out more about the event or more about your important person and send us a story of your completed projects.

Start with your cemetery! Some inspiring ideas for you to investigate!
Incredible events - This might be a ship wreck, a fire, or an epidemic.

Important individuals - This might be a politician, artist, musician, sports person author, or poet. Link a community memorial with an individual.

Investigate a group of people who are represented in your cemetery.

Investigate the story behind an inspiring headstone or tomb.

An environmental issue - This might involve the restoration of a gravesite, or group of gravesites. It might also be a solution to a environment or conservation issue in the cemetery that the class has come up with.

In your story tell us about your cemetery, and about the grave that inspired your investigation. Tell us what you have found out about the event or person this story is about.

Special Investigation - Resource 1:

Here is an example of an interesting story that took the author over much of the South Island looking at heritage sites connected with this event that we can still visit today.

Photo-story: The Wreck of the S.S. Tararua (PDF file. Download size 2.5Mb)

This fifteen-slide photo-story starts with the graves of those who perished. Graves can be found in Dunedin's Northern Cemetery and the Barbadoes Street Cemetery, Christchurch. The story unfolds with details of the wreck of the Steamship Tararua on Southland's Otara Reef, Waipapa Point, near Invercargill and concludes with a visit to the Tararua Acre and Fortrose Cemeteries where the Fortrose School children raised money for the two memorials that exist over the graves of the unknown victims.

This resource is also available as a Powerpoint presentation The Wreck of the SS Tararua.pptx (Compatible for Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 - PDF file. Download size 2Mb)

Special Investigation - Resource 2:

Photo-story: Ferry Collision Dunedin Harbour (PDF file. Download size 1.5Mb)

This twelve-slide photo-story starts with the graves of those who perished which are found in Dunedin's Southern Cemetery. As the story unfolds we learn of the sinking of the Pride of the Yarra and find out why the city's first High School Principal never made it to the job. The loss of an entire family in this tragic accident was felt by the whole community at the time and is still remembered today.

This resource is also available as a Powerpoint presentation, PrideofYarra.pptx (Compatible for Microsoft Powerpoint 2007 - PDF file. Download size 2.2 Mb)).

Special Investigation - Resource 3:

Photo-story:Kaitangata Mining Disaster (PDF file. Download size 1.7Mb)

This ten-slide photo-story starts with the simple grave of Thomas Frew in Dunedin's Northern Cemetery and leads to an investigation of one of New Zealand's worst ever coal mining disasters.

This resource is also available as a Powerpoint presentation, Kaitangata.pptx (Compatible for Microsoft Powerpoint 2007- PDF file. Download size 1.8Mb).

Tell us about your cemetery investigations!

If your class is involved in unearthing more about events, important individuals, ethnic or community groups, in your local cemetery let us know about it.

If there is information about your incredible event that can be found in several cemeteries or even in other towns or cities you might like to ask the children of the local school to help you in a combined project.

Email your story or article along with photographs or send as a Word file to Stewart Harvey and we will share your project with others on this website!