Waikumete Cemetery

Waikumete cemeteryWaikumete Cemetery is a place of beauty, tranquillity, quiet reverence and rich history, which has served greater Auckland and Waitakere since 1886.

It is the largest cemetery in New Zealand, and one of the largest public parks in the Auckland region.

Here, one can trace the history and evolution of a society from its pioneering days to the present, with people of many cultures and countries of origin being laid to rest.


Draft Waikumete Cemetery Reserve Management Plan

Help shape the future of Waikumete Cemetery

Waikumete Cemetery is an important part of our region.

It is the final resting place of our loved ones, spanning many generations, and it provides an important cultural record of Auckland with specific significance to our Returned Services, different religions, family and ethnic groupings.

Waikumete Cemetery.

What is the Draft Waikumete Cemetery Reserve Management Plan?

A Reserve Management Plan is used as a guide for the managment and development of parks and reserves. It governs the activities that are able to carried out in a reserve.

The plan has to be reviewed every ten years, Auckland Council has prepared the draft Waikumete Cemetery Reserve Management Plan and it is now ready for your feedback.

There are important decisions to be made about the future of Waikumete Cemetery.

The draft reserve managment plan focuses on the key issues facing the cemetery and provides the opportunity for the public to be involved in the decision making.

Matters which are addressed in the plan include a proposed new main entrance and burial plot development, as well as more active management of developed and natural areas of vegetation. 

The draft plan sets out a pathway to develop the site as a memorial park with increased passive recreational opportunities, whilst also protecting and enhancing the historic and natural qualities of the site.

The top five matters to be addressed:

1. Memorial Park Development
With the cemetery nearing maximum burial capacity, an overarching objective is to develop the reserve towards increased passive recreational use and its ultimate function as a memorial park.

2. Maintenance
Additional maintenance resources are a key focus. Increased surveillance would discourage anti-social behaviour and vandalism which has impacted the historic cemetery in particular.

3. Functionality
A safer main vehicle entrance is a priority. An improved pedestrian and vehicle network within the grounds, including better parking options and signage would make it easier to find your way to grave sites and points of cultural and ecological interest.

4. Expansion
The cemetery is anticipated to have no burial plots available for sale beyond 2018. The draft plan looks at new burial plot development into a portion of the vegetated upper-slopes which could allow the sale of new plots up to 2060.  This would allow council the time to budget and plan for the acquisition of land for a new future cemetery at another location.

5. Vegetation
The draft management plan identifies areas of the most intact and highest quality of native gumland vegetation within the site, and proposes measures to protect and restore the ecological health of those areas.

Waikumete Cemetery.

Have Your Say

Submissions on the Draft Waikumete Cemetery reserve management plan closed on Tuesday 16 September 2014.

For further information please read the draft plan:

Draft Waikumete Cemetery reserve management plan - Part 1 (PDF 4MB)

Draft Waikumete Cemetery reserve management plan - Part 2 (PDF 5MB)

Draft Waikumete Cemetery reserve management plan - Part 3 (PDF 5MB)

Further enquiries: phone 09 301 0101 or email: Waikumete@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz


  • 16 July 2014
    Public notification of reserve management plan/start of public consultation
  • 4pm 16 Sept 2014
    2-month public consultation ends
  • October 2014
    Submission analysis
  • Oct/Nov 2014
  • December 2014
    Final reserve management plan ready for adoption
  • Feb/March 2015
  Indicates current position in timeline.

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 stillborn sanctuary

Auckland Council unreservedly apologises for any distress caused by the work carried out in the Stillborn Sanctuary section of Waikumete Cemetery. 

Find out more about this work, who to contact and latest updates on the Waikumete Cemetery stillborn 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.

Cultural distinctions

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

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.

Burial vaults

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
Glen Eden

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
Email: info.cemetery@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Gate opening hours
Daylight saving hours
Winter hours

Office opening hours
8am-4pm, Monday to Friday

Cemetery office is closed on Saturday and Sunday. For urgent assistance, contact Auckland Council on 09 301 0101.