Press Release – Auckland Council
Auckland Council has issued an open letter of apology to the families of Waikumete Cemetery affected by recent work in the cemetery’s Stillborn Sanctuary area.
The letter is signed by Mace Ward, Manager Parks, Sports and Recreation and Sandra Coney, Chair Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum and reads as follows:
Open letter to the families of Waikumete Cemetery
Auckland Council unreservedly apologises for any distress caused by the recent work carried out in the Stillborn Sanctuary section of Waikumete Cemetery.
The recent work and lack of consultation with affected families is unacceptable. This does not reflect the sensitivity and respect we should use in cemetery work.
The Stillborn Sanctuary is a sacred place of memories and remembrance for all of the parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends of children buried there.
Council’s intention was to give this area some of the care and attention it deserves, by tidying up some of the rough edges and taking better care of these graves. We got it wrong and for this we are sorry.
We pledge to work with the families of the Stillborn Sanctuary to reinstate this area and work together on managing decorations and adornments on the graves.
If your family has a grave in the Stillborn Sanctuary and have not received a letter from us, we might not have your current address. Please phone us on 09 301 0101 to check or drop in to the cemetery office.
Drop in sessions and meeting
A number of drop in sessions are available for families to discuss their preferences for reinstating the area and feedback. These are for people to talk about their individual plots and will be at the Waikumete Cemetery office on:
• 16 February, 10am – 2pm
• 17 February, 10am – 2pm
• 19 February, 6pm – 8 pm
• 21 February, 6pm – 8 pm
A meeting with affected families is planned for Sunday 24 February at 3pm at the Kelston Community Centre on the corner of Awaroa Road and Great North Road, Kelston.
Notes for editors
• This letter of apology is running in today’s Western Leader (Friday 15 February; released to media; published on the Auckland Council’s website and displayed at Waikumete Cemetery.
• A PDF of the open letter of apology is attached to this advisory
• It follows distribution this week of the first personalised letters to the families that have loved ones buried in the Stillborn Sanctuary area
• Distribution of letters will continue next week as people update their contact details with us.