Skip to main content
Auckland Council

Scattering of ashes

Ash scattering considerations

There are a few things to think about if you wish to scatter the ashes of your loved one.

Location

Public places change regularly – gardens are removed and re-planted, trees reach the end of their natural life and are taken away, construction requiring earthworks can occur, and public access can change.

Private property can also change ownership.

Scattering gardens or memorial sites

If you prefer a long-lasting option, a scattering garden or memorial site may be the best choice for you.

Effect on the environment

Auckland's harbours are an important part of our natural environment. They are home to native plants, birds and fish that are all taonga (treasured).

Materials used in religious and cultural practices, including plastic, paper, string and ash, can pollute our harbours and other open spaces, causing harm to plants, birds and fish.

When scattering the ashes of your loved one, please consider the environment by:
  • only placing small amounts of flowers or leaves in water
  • taking any paper, plastic, cloth, wire or string home with you, or placing it in a rubbish bin
  • using small clay or turmeric idols for any offerings into the water, and taking any other idols home with you
  • taking any items home before burning or burying them
  • not leaving any food items in open spaces, as they can attract rats or other pests.

Where you can scatter ashes

Scattering of ashes is a very personal and sensitive matter.

Different cultures have different ways of dealing with cremation and ashes, and it is important that we consider this when deciding where to scatter ashes.

Guidance on scattering ashes in Auckland

Private properties

Ashes can be scattered on private property, if the property owner gives their permission first.

Waterways and oceans

Dispersal of ashes in waterways is culturally inappropriate for Māori, whereas this is a special part of the cultural beliefs of others.

Speak to tangata whenua (the people of the land) before scattering ashes in the ocean or flowing water.

Contact us for a list of people that can provide guidance on seeking approval or discuss with your funeral service provider, who will also be familiar with these groups.

Sacred sites

Places like maunga (volcanic cones) and food cultivation and gathering areas are considered wāhi tapu (sacred) to Māori.

It is culturally unacceptable to scatter ashes here.

Public parks and gardens

Auckland's regional parks, the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa and Parnell Rose Gardens have prohibited the scattering of ashes in their parks and gardens.

Ash scattering is also discouraged in local parks and on sports fields, where visitors picnic, exercise and relax.

Ashes can affect grass on sports fields, the health of plants within public gardens, and thought must be given to the gardeners who care for the plants too.

Ash scattering gardens and memorial sites

Many places, like privately owned public gardens, hospices and cemeteries, have ash scattering areas or memorial options.

Eden Garden in Epsom offers memorials and places where ashes can be placed within the gardens.

Our cemeteries also offer ash scattering gardens and ash burial options which are located within tranquil settings and always there for you to visit.