Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Preserving heritage at Waikumete Cemetery

From a bus tour booklet I've been putting together for the West Auckland Historical Society:

In 1876, 100 acres of the present site was reserved by the Crown as a cemetery. A further 188 acres was gazetted in 1881, and in 1883 Auckland City Council applied to have all 288 acres vested to them as a cemetery. Development began in 1884, and the cemetery formally established in 1886. The first official and documented burials took place 17 April that year. Some parts of the cemetery have been transferred for other purposes over the years. In 1989, control was transferred to Waitakere City Council. Historic structures include the Mortuary Chapel “Faith in the Oaks” (1886), Sexton’s House (1886), second crematorium and chapel complex (1949-1956).


WAHS (my next-to-home society, after Avondale, seeing as I'm on their committee at the moment) have been campaigning to not only encourage the awareness and preservation of the Chapel of Faith in the Oaks as a heritage building, but also to have the local Waitakere City Council create an extended heritage precinct area encompassing not just the chapel, but also the Sexton's Cottage, presently a private residence.


Today, the Sexton's Cottage looks like it's in good nick.



But the chapel is still receiving some care, and is under restoration. Here are some photos -- I was very fortunate that Trevor Pollard, president of WAHS and a good friend, took me out there to the cemetery yesterday.









The good news is -- yes, the chapel is being looked after and restored. The bricks, by the way, originally came from the Hunt brickworks in Avondale. So, this is as much a part of our history on the east side of the Whau River, as it is part of the West.


  1. What a great opportunity to see this restoration job, thanks, Lisa :)
    It's apparent there's a lot of care and attention taking place to make a decent job of it!

    5th photo down of the chapel - is that a narrow doorway or floor-length window that's been bricked up?

  2. It's one of the windows, part of a set of three (east side), Jayne. The photo third from the bottom was taken of the same part, but where I was able to stand (very carefully!) on a dirt ramp just inside the other doorway.

    If I have a chance to take shots when it's all finished -- you'll see 'em here.

  3. Ohhh fabbbbulous interior pics! Been there a few times now in the past couple of years and wondered what it looked like inside.

    Here's some graves from Waikumete i've uploaded to flickr. Some with bio's about their inhabitants.

    I have a particular connection with William Alfred Perreau...photos in the bottom row on the above link.