There are no plans to make families apply for permission
to scatter their loved ones' ashes in public places in Dunedin,
as announced this week in Auckland, but scattering of ashes in
city parks and recreational areas is already ''discouraged''.
As part of a wider bylaw covering cemeteries and
crematoriums, Auckland Council wants to prevent people from
scattering ashes in any public place, including beaches and
reserves, unless they have written approval from the council
or Wahi Tapu Maori Kimiti (a Maori committee that oversees
Dunedin City Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said DCC
policy was that ashes could be scattered only at two
designated garden areas at Andersons Bay cemetery and nowhere
else on any city-owned parks and reserves land.
Family ashes could also be scattered in family burial plots
in any cemetery.
However, the rule was not written into any bylaw and was not
enforceable. She said the practice was discouraged and people
were informed of other options available to them if they
contacted the council.
People wanting to scatter ashes in the Andersons Bay cemetery
garden areas needed to pay a fee of $70.70, which went
towards maintaining a record of people whose ashes were
scattered, and garden maintenance.
Dunedin did have a high rate of cremations, but
ash-scattering in public places was not a problem, or not
frequent enough to be a problem, as far as she was aware, she
The council was in the middle of reviewing its operational
practices and procedures around burials and cremations, but
that was, in the main, to add natural burials to the options
It might have to review its rules following any final
amendments to the Burial and Cremation Act, being reviewed at
present, but that would not happen until the amendments were
passed, which was expected still to be several years away.
Hope and Sons funeral director Michael Hope said staff
advised families ashes could not be scattered on public parks
or reserves - people often thought the Dunedin Botanic Garden
might be a nice place to do that - and that if they wanted to
scatter ashes on private property, they needed to get
approval from the proprietors of the property.
People had had ashes spread at golf courses, race tracks and
There were no restrictions on scattering ashes on water, but
the advice was that it should always be done in a sensitive
manner, particularly around food harvesting areas, he said.