$5000 pledged to repair Kettle's grave

Photo by Craig Baxter
Photo by Craig Baxter
A brighter future now seems likely after years of vandalism and neglect left an important grave in Dunedin's Southern Cemetery in a ''totally shameful'' condition.

About $5000 has been pledged to repair the grave of Charles Kettle, an influential Dunedin early settler.

Dunedin heritage advocate Stewart Harvey recently took issue with the ''shameful'' state of the grave, and its condition was highlighted in a story in the Otago Daily Times late last month.

Kettle was Dunedin's first main surveyor and contributed much to the city, laying out its distinctive pattern of streets, including its central Octagon.

University of Otago Emeritus Prof Martin Ferguson, who has been studying Kettle's life, noted Kettle Park was named after him, but no public memorial marked his major contribution as ''the architect of Dunedin''.

Prof Ferguson last month contacted the ODT and Mr Harvey, the chairman of the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of New Zealand, to raise concern about the state of the grave.

Its main headstone had fallen and its concrete apron was smashed.

Mr Harvey was encouraged that since the ODT story appeared, some city organisations had pledged about $5000 to repair the grave.

He hoped the repairs could be carried out over the next few months, depending partly on availability of monumental masons, and the weather.

Much more repair and restoration work needed to be done in Dunedin's cemeteries, but there was also a growing community awareness about the importance of the city's history, he said.

Prof Ferguson was ''very pleased'' the money had been pledged, that people had been supportive, and that the community was at last giving more recognition to Kettle, who was an important figure.

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