Dunedin residents Emeritus Prof Martin Ferguson (left) and
Stewart Harvey reflect on the ''sad'' state of the grave of
Dunedin's first main surveyor, Charles Kettle. Photo by
Neglect and vandalism have left the Southern Cemetery
grave of an important Dunedin early settler, Charles Kettle, in
a ''totally shameful'' condition, heritage advocate Stewart
Mr Kettle was Dunedin's first main surveyor, and contributed
much to the city, laying out its distinctive pattern of
streets, including its central Octagon, and Baldwin St, the
world's steepest street.
University of Otago Emeritus Prof Martin Ferguson, who has
been studying Mr Kettle's life, noted Kettle Park was named
after him, but no statue or other public memorial marked his
major contribution as ''the architect of Dunedin'', in terms
of its street layout.
Prof Ferguson contacted the Otago Daily Times and Mr Harvey,
the chairman of the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of
New Zealand, to raise concern about the ''serious disrepair''
of the grave.
Mr Harvey shared those concerns and said more strategic
planning and funding were needed to protect the city's
heritage, including its historic cemeteries.
The heritage trust had already spent hundreds of thousands of
dollars on undertaking restoration work and other
improvements in the Southern Cemetery, but more work needed
to be done. Mr Kettle's grave could be properly restored for
only about $2650, he said.
Mr Harvey hoped to help establish a ''Friends of the Southern
Cemetery'' group later this year to help continue improvement
work there. Prof Ferguson said part of Mr Kettle's main
gravestone had fallen, ''the various stones are hardly
legible and the concrete apron is badly fragmented''.
This amounted to ''sad recognition'' of ''this important
figure in the city's history''.
Prof Ferguson was grateful to Mr Harvey and his trust
committee for their ''splendid work'' in Dunedin's
It would be ''gratifying'' to see the Dunedin City Council
back these efforts, he said.
The conservation trust can be contacted via internet at