The capacity of Auckland’s cemeteries has come under Auckland Council’s microscope as it looks at what space may be needed to allow for burials in the coming years.
Council’s Auckland Cemeteries Capacity and Demand Update study tackles future capacity challenges and identifies ways to ensure Auckland has sufficient burial capacity for the next 20 years.
The primary focus of the study is the demand for burials, rather than cremation.
The study was presented to the Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee last month and Council’s Auckland Cemeteries manager, Catherine Moore, said while there is space in council owned and privately owned cemeteries, shortages are starting to appear with several of Council’s cemeteries expected to reach capacity within the next decade.
These include the city’s Waikumete Cemetery, which has 1700 burial plots remaining, and Warkworth which is nearly full.
The study says that Auckland currently experiences around 8000 deaths per year. This is expected to reach just over 12,000 per year by 2038, with council needing to provide 30,000-60,000 burial plots over the next 30 years.
The study looks at areas that will come under increased pressure, based on current growth projections and burial trends, and that information will be used to assist with the formation of a long-term acquisition and investment plan.
The expansion of Waikumete Cemetery is the preferred option identified in the report.
The study points out that urban areas with a high population are not necessarily those with the highest rates of death; the highest number of deaths is actually forecast near Orewa.
Council’s next step is to investigate future supply options, including potential land acquisition. If Waikumete cannot be expanded, other options will be considered.