Symonds Street is home to one of New Zealand’s oldest cemeteries.
In 2012, Waitematā Local Board took the area on as a priority project, allocating $1.5 million to a 10-year development plan. Now in its third year, a great deal has already been achieved, including a large-scale clearing of vegetation to improve sightlines and provide a greater sense of safety for visitors.
In May, the local board will celebrate the opening of upgraded paths and new walking trails at the Symonds Street cemetery.
Other goals for this year include increasing volunteer involvement and encouraging families to participate in conservation of their family plots. “The introduction of the Friends of Symonds Street Cemetery group in 2012 made a huge difference to the welfare of the grounds, plants and monument care,” says Shale Chambers, Waitematā Local Board Chair.
We are incredibly grateful to these hardworking volunteers. “The cemetery is more than 170 years old and home to some of the city’s oldest grave sites, monuments and heritage rose varieties; it will continue to need the love and attention of the community.”
Just as important as protecting the physical attributes is recording and making available historical information connected to the cemetery.
The Symonds Street Cemetery Development Plan provides location specific information via the mobile app STQRY. This enables an audience to access a wide range of information both on location and online.
“Symonds Street Cemetery is a historical asset for Auckland, one which will draw increasing numbers of visitors, not just for the beauty of the grounds but for the stories, history and accessibility of that information,” says Shale Chambers.