Monday, July 26, 2010
Auckland Cemeteries Part One - Hillsborough
It's been a while since I've been to a cemetery recreationally. I grew up five houses down from one and used to stop by fairly often. My Nana quite liked a wander through a cemetery. Us kids would go with her to see who could find the most unusual old-fashioned name on the markers, and wonder at the childrens' graves.
Hillsborough Cemetery is high on the ridge and overlooks the Manukau, with One Tree Hill to the east. The little field-tripper was very impressed with the site.
We sought out the oldest looking graves, most of the ones we were drawn to were from the 1930s - 1940s. Even though the paths and roads were tidy, so many of the graves were uncared for, with missing or broken headstones, ornaments and smashed tiles. Several were just wooden box framing with bark on top. There were dead bushes on or next to some, and it looked like a healthy dose of weed-killer had been applied recently.
Dunedin group Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of New Zealand aims to "encourage communities throughout New Zealand to recognize that their cemeteries are important cultural and historical symbols and resources". They believe that the care of these places should be a community and civic responsibility rather than an individual one. Hillsborough Cemetery might need some friends like this too.