History of Waikumete Cemetery
The land at Waikumete was purchased incrementally by the Crown between 1876 and 1881 and reserved as a site for a public cemetery for Auckland.
The new cemetery, known as ‘Waikomiti’, was set aside to replace Symonds Street Cemetery, the main cemetery for Auckland, which at the time was nearing capacity.
‘Waikomiti’ was officially opened in 1886. Since the closure of Symonds Street Cemetery in 1908, Waikumete has served as the main cemetery for the Auckland region.
In 1917 the cemetery comprised 303 acres. It has since reduced in size with land re-purposed for road widening, recreation services and the Sunhill Park subdivision. Currently at 108 hectares, Waikumete cemetery remains New Zealand’s largest cemetery.
Waikumete has two chapels adjacent to each other in the main building.
The larger chapel has seating for 110, while the smaller chapel seats 60 people. These two chapels offer flexible arrangements according to the needs of the funeral.
Audio and video facilities are available in the large chapel.
With large funerals, if a congregation overflows from the chapel to the area outside – or even to the smaller chapel – a TV monitor can be placed so that mourners may follow the service. The audio and video facilities can be used to make a permanent record of the service.
The chapels’ first-class sound systems allow appropriate music to be played. The cemetery has an extensive music range of its own, or it can accommodate music supplied by families of the bereaved. Both chapels are available for full or committal services.
Works carried out in the children's sanctuary
Auckland Council unreservedly apologises for any distress caused by the work carried out in the children's sanctuary section of Waikumete Cemetery.
Find out more about this work, who to contact, and latest updates on the Waikumete Cemetery children's sanctuary page.
Lawns, memorials and gardens
Ashes, garden and lawn memorials
These areas offer plots for two sets of ashes. Flat plaques of granite or bronze may be placed on the surrounding grass verge.
Family memorial gardens
Tree memorials offer up to sixteen plots for the interment of ashes. A number of different locations are available within the cemetery.
Columbarium (niche) wall
A tranquil courtyard is created by columbarium walls. Up to two urns of ashes may be placed within each niche in the walls.
Book of Memories
The name of the deceased may be entered into the Book of Memories to commemorate the passing of a loved one. The recently re-designed book is on permanent display with each page being opened to match the corresponding day of the year.
Children and stillborn lawns
There are two separate areas for children at Waikumete: one for stillborn or babies up to the age of 27 days, the other for children from 27 days to 10 years.
Returned Services areas
This is assigned by Waikumete for those who saw active service in the Armed Forces in a variety of overseas wars.
The plots are provided by the Department of Internal Affairs.
The only charge is the digging fee.
Whereas there were once many separate areas set aside within Waikumete to accommodate cultural, religious and even denominational differences, today there are only three areas, which are specifically reserved in this way: the Urupa, the Hebrew section and the Muslim section.
The Hebrew section incorporates the Belt Olam Prayer House and the starkly beautiful Holocaust Stone, at the foot of which are buried ashes taken from Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1945.
The Urupa was opened in 1996 to meet the needs of Maori, both adults and children.
Children’s needs are met in a specially selected area within the Urupa.
Mausoleum sites are readily available within Waikumete.
The common site size is 2.5 by 6 metres.
Plans for a mausoleum must be approved by Auckland Council engineers and a consent obtained before building begins.
Underground and above ground vaults are available in certain areas of the cemetery.
Plans of vaults require Auckland Council engineers’ approval.
Chapel of Faith in the Oaks
This chapel was built in May 1886 and fully refurbished in 1996.
The chapel is commonly used for weddings and occasionally for funerals.
Friends of Waikumete
This group was established in 1995, with the aim of promoting the unique historical and horticultural features of the old cemetery.
Friends of Waikumete Incorporated organise guided walks through the cemetery, pointing out the historical gravesites and those of the famous and infamous.
Contact the Waikumete Cemetery
4128A Great North Road
The cemetery occupies the area between 4128 Great North Road and the intersection with Awaroa Road.
Visitors can access the cemetery through the main gates, located on Great North Road, Glen Eden.
Tel. 09 818 5615
Fax 09 818 8656
Gate opening hours
Daylight saving hours
Office opening hours
8.30am-4pm, Monday to Saturday
Cemetery office is closed Sunday. For urgent assistance, contact Auckland Council on 09 301 0101.