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Thread: NZ's first natural burial cemetery opens

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    Default NZ's first natural burial cemetery opens

    NZ's first natural burial cemetery opens
    Friday, 30 May 2008

    New Zealand's first natural burial cemetery will be officially opened on Wellington's south coast next week.

    The site - part of Wellington's Makara Cemetery - will be opened by the capital's Mayor Kerry Prendergast on Tuesday.

    Natural Burials founder Mark Blackham said the cemetery was a first for New Zealand.

    "People are demanding more involvement and choice in what happens to their bodies after they die, and can be attracted to the idea of a natural burial for many reasons, including religious, spiritual and environmental," he said.

    Those who chose a natural burial would rest around one metre down, unembalmed, in a biodegradable casket, he said.

    Compost would also be added to the soil to assist decomposition.

    Mr Blackham said a native tree would be planted at the head or base of each plot.

    "Many people find the idea of being buried in an area that will eventually be covered in native bush, a fitting memorial to their lives and see it as a legacy for future generations," he said.

    - NZPA

    From here .
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    Good idea I suppose, although I reckon if you're that concerned about the environment, why not just be cremated and have your ashes scattered? Guess it's just down to personal desire though, some people wouldn't want to be cremated, so for that reason, this new natural cemetery is a great idea

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    Quote Originally Posted by Welshgirl View Post
    Good idea I suppose, although I reckon if you're that concerned about the environment, why not just be cremated and have your ashes scattered?
    Maybe they are worried about the smoke emissions, resulting from cremation, polluting the atmosphere and also the fuel needed for the process?

    I read a book once about a family living in Africa. The young son had a fascination for snakes and kept some near the house. He got bitten by one and eventually died. He was given a similar burial and a tree planted on his grave. It was very sad, but touching at the same time.
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    Although I've long considered cremation, you're right about the energy needed to do the job, MB. I'm now leaning more towards a natural burial.

    Before they began to be discussed in the press, I had thought of creating a natural cemetery/burial garden. I just didn't do the homework or rustle up the money for the property. I thought it would be great to have a small lake where you could have Viking funerals.
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    Natural burials 'more harmful' to environment
    By TRACY NEAL - The Nelson Mail | Friday, 08 August 2008

    Natural burials will be more harmful to the environment than conventional burials because of the types of diseases and chemicals carried in humans, says a Nelson funeral director.

    Francis Day, of Marsden House Funeral Services, told the Nelson City Council on Thursday during a hearing on its cemeteries bylaw that "putrefaction" of a body that was not embalmed created soil toxicity to levels which in many places would breach World Health Organisation standards.

    Natural burials involve returning a body to the earth to decompose and be recycled naturally.

    "Marsden Valley, for example, would not qualify under WHO regulations because of the water table in the area," Mr Day said.

    A body had to be buried 1m above a water table and needed 1m of cover.

    Mr Day said that despite what people might think about the risks of formaldehyde, there was more of it in clothing than in embalming fluid.

    "What I am saying is, be careful about natural burials because there is potential for disease," he warned councillors.

    Mr Day said outside the meeting that diseases and bacteria did not die when a body was buried, and natural burials would "put future communities at risk".

    He said his stance was not related to protecting his business.

    Mr Day said it cost an average of $7500 for a conventional funeral.

    Lynda Hannah, the director of Living Legacies, a Motueka natural funeral company, said a natural burial cost around $2000 but some people had managed one for less than $1000.

    She laughed when Mr Day's comments were relayed to her on Friday.

    "He doesn't know what he's talking about."

    Disease and bacteria died along with the body, she said. "There's no reason why bodies have to be embalmed."

    Mr Day was among a number of people who made submissions on the bylaw on Thursday.

    His argument was countered by suggestions from the pro-natural burial lobby, which is urging the council to follow the Tasman District Council's lead in opening the way for people to choose the natural option.

    The Tasman council's community services committee recently agreed to set aside areas of Motueka cemetery, Rototai cemetery in Golden Bay and Spring Grove as natural burial parks.

    Nelson man Peter Sutton said he believed that any contribution a decaying body could make to the natural environment should be encouraged.

    "The idea they contribute nutrients to growing trees is very favourable.''

    He said natural burials were increasingly favoured in Britain, the United States and various European countries.

    Former Nelson city councillor Bob Straight told councillors he had a "personal aversion" to cemeteries and "wasteful expenditure'' on burials and cremations.

    Council staff will prepare a report on natural burials, based on the number of comments received supporting the concept. It will also take into account the impact on the environment and public health.

    From here.
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