A grieving wife and mother is feeling frustrated in her attempts to get horses removed from the Glorit Cemetery, on State Highway 16.
Dianne Glavish, of Warkworth, visits the cemetery every couple of weeks where two of her sons, a daughter and her husband David are all buried.
She says that about 18 months ago, a nearby landholder started grazing their horses on the cemetery paddock. Although the grave sites are fenced off, Dianne says the horses have broken down the fence on numerous occasions and grazed in the cemetery itself. She has found crosses and fencing around graves broken, and horse dung littering the site.
She says makeshift repairs to the surrounding fence, using baling twine, have been useless.
“It’s really upsetting,” she says. “A cemetery should be a place of peace and respect for our loved ones.”
But her sadness at the state of the cemetery has been exacerbated by the frustration of trying to find someone to take responsibility for asking the landowner to remove the horses.
“Auckland Council has its sign on the gate, but when I enquired at the Orewa office, they said it was church land,” Dianne says. “I believe they are referring to the Church of Christ in Wellsford, but again, I can’t get any confirmation of this.”
A spokesperson for the church told Mahurangi Matters that although former members of the church are buried at the cemetery, the Wellsford church currently has no interest in the land.
“If the cemetery is on land that has been vested in the church, then it would be with the church’s property trust,” she said. Attempts to contact the trust in Nelson were unsuccessful, however.
Dianne understands there are cemetery trustees, but she has not been able to track them down either.
“I tried speaking to the owners of the horses, but they didn’t care and said they had permission. I don’t think that’s true.”
Dianne has put her plans for tiling and erecting monuments on the graves of her husband and eldest son on hold until the issue of the horses is resolved.
“It will cost around $30,000 to get the work done, but I don’t want to do it just to find the tiles broken by horses’ hooves.”
Council has confirmed to Mahurangi Matters that the cemetery is privately owned, but can’t explain why its sign is on the gate, and the owner of the horses did not respond to phone messages.
The cemetery is well over 100 years old. It contains the graves of a number of early families of the area, as well as a memorial to the nine people who lost their lives in the Kaipara Harbour fishing boat tragedy of January 11, 1895.