Peaceful sanctuary for babies at Waikumete

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Publish Date : 20 Jan 2016
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Families of departed newborn and stillborn babies recently attended the blessing of a new children's sanctuary at Waikumete Cemetery.

The sanctuary, which includes an artistic mosaic path, wall and seating for visitors, is designed to allow for peaceful contemplation. It's family-friendly in acknowledgement of the babies interred there and for their visiting siblings.

The wall features benches where parents can sit and reflect when they come to visit their babies' graves, with a range of objects pressed into the side of the wall for children to interact with.

Auckland artist Joy Bell says she spent a lot of time with parents who had lost babies, before designing the sanctuary.

“The design starts with a marine theme, then moves into a garden full of animals and birds. Beyond that is a 'living area', which is a home away from home for the babies," says Joy.

Hayley Tapu, whose son is buried at the site, said, "There's a sense of peace, of peacefulness, now every time I come down."

The blessing of the new children’s sanctuary brings closure to many families affected by the accidental disturbance of several grave sites by council contractors three years ago.

Monica Snook, a parent and advocate on behalf of families affected, said she was happy with how the space had turned out.

"It's an area you feel happy coming to see."

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