A Dunedin woman has been laid to rest in the new natural
burial site in Waldronville, despite it not being officially
Council reserves and planning team leader Paulien Leijnse
said although the site within the Green Park Cemetery was not
''officially open'', it was not ''officially closed, either''
and a woman was the first to be buried there, in late
The woman's husband had contacted the council when his wife
was ill asking the council to ''hurry up'' and open the new
The woman had been a ''voice'' in the submission process on
the proposal for natural burials, which was a factor in the
council considering his request, Ms Leijnse said.
The council had been on schedule to have the site ready by
Christmas, but the access road had taken longer than
When it rained, it could be challenging to get a hearse near
the grave, Ms Leijnse said.
Council parks, recreation and aquatics manager Mick Reece
said the council allowed Hope and Son to bury the woman if it
agreed to do so in any weather conditions.
''They didn't hesitate.''
The council would allow further burials at the site before it
was officially opened if a funeral director committed to
completing the work, he said.
Hope and Sons managing director Michael Hope said he was not
advising clients about the availability of natural burials
until the site was officially opened, which he expected to be
in April next year.
But if there was a similar situation before the official
opening, he would take the work on and if the hearse could
not get to the grave, he would arrange two sets of
pallbearers to share carrying duties of the casket.
On the day the woman was buried, the hearse was able to get
close to the grave.
The council had mowed a path to the site, which the hearse
used, and the woman was buried in front of ''very close
family'' after a funeral in South Dunedin.
''It was beautiful blue sky - a sunny afternoon.''
In natural burials, bodies are not embalmed and they are
placed in untreated and biodegradable caskets within
composted soil, on top of which native trees are planted. The
GPS location of graves will be held by the council.
Earlier this year, the council called for submissions on a
proposal to establish a natural burial site and associated
natural burial protocols.
The 24 submissions received all supported the option of
natural burial, although some suggested changes to the
A natural burial costs the same as traditional burial.