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Ngā toenga tahunga (arā, ngā pungarehu)

Cremated remains (ashes)

​Cremated remains or ashes

Cremated remains are often referred to as 'ashes'. However, all that remains at the end of the process are fragile calcified bone fragments.

Metal debris such as screws and any artificial titanium joints that do not melt down in the process are removed using a magnetic wand.

Things to know about cremated ashes

Ash containers

Cremated remains are transferred to a cremulator that processes the bone fragments to a fine powder.

The remains are transferred to a named, sealed container ready for collection.

Cremated ashes can be stored in a box or urn indefinitely, buried or scattered.

Scattering of ashes

Cemeteries, hospices and privately-owned gardens provide options for ash-scattering and memorials.

Ashes are nutrient-rich and can impact soil alkalinity. We use an additive to safely transform ashes into nutrients for the soil in ash-scattering areas.

For more information, visit Scattering of ashes page.

Assisted or unassisted burial

You can choose between assisted or unassisted burials.

For assisted burials, our grounds team is present to assist you during the burial.

A burial outside of office hours (after 4pm Monday - Saturday and all day Sunday) is called an unassisted ash burial.

For more information, visit Burial of ashes page.

Unclaimed ashes

Auckland Council preserves ashes for a maximum of 28 days following the cremation.

If the ashes are not collected after 28 days, we will contact the funeral director or family member who applied for the cremation.

Thereafter, if the ashes are still not collected then at the discretion of the crematorium authority, the ashes will be:

  • retained in a columbarium at the crematorium or

  • interred/buried in a cemetery or burial ground or in land near the crematorium reserved for the burial of ashes.

If the ashes are left in the charge of the crematorium authority, and are not removed within a reasonable time, we will send two weeks' notice by registered letter to the person who applied for the cremation, before we intern the ashes.

Transferring ashes from one urn to another

If the cremation took place at an Auckland Council crematorium, we transfer the ashes for no charge.

A fee may apply to transfer ashes from a crematorium outside of Auckland.

Contact the crematorium to arrange the transfer.

Taking ashes overseas

You do not need permission from the council to take ashes overseas.

You do need to make contact with the airlines directly to find out more.

You may also need to consult the immigration/consulate office for the country where you are taking the ashes.

Contact us

For information about cemeteries, call:

0800 4 CEMETERY (0800 423 638)

or email:

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