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Te horanga pungarehu

Scattering of ashes

What you should consider when scattering ashes

Scattering ashes is a personal and sensitive process that varies across different cultures and belief systems.

It is important to consider cultural practices and environmental impact when deciding on a location for scattering ashes.

Choosing the right location

There are many places that provide options for ash scattering and memorials, such as cemeteries, hospices and privately-owned gardens.

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

Our cemeteries offer:

  • ash scattering areas
  • lawn ash interment areas
  • ash garden interment areas
  • columbarium walls
  • ash vaults
  • interment in family burial plots.

Our ash scattering gardens are located within tranquil settings for you to visit.

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

Environmental factors

When choosing a location for scattering, you must consider the environment by:

  • placing only small amounts of flowers or leaves in water
  • taking any paper, plastic, cloth, wire or string home with you, or disposing them in a rubbish bin
  • using small clay or turmeric idols for offerings in the water and taking any other idols home
  • not leaving any food items in open spaces to prevent attracting pests
  • being cautious of wind when scattering, as ashes are very fine.

Cultural factors

When choosing a location for scattering, you must:

  • respect cultural practices and beliefs, both your own and those of the local community
  • adhere to guidelines and regulations set by authorities and cultural groups
  • avoid places that are considered sacred or hold special significance to local communities.

Prohibited areas

  • Maunga (volcanic cones) and areas used for food cultivation and gathering as they are considered wāhi tapu (sacred) to Māori.
  • Auckland's regional parks, including the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa and Parnell Rose Gardens.
  • Local parks and on sports fields where people gather to picnic, exercise and relax.
  • Waterways and oceans, as dispersing ashes in waterways is considered culturally inappropriate for Māori.
  • Private property (unless the owner gives their permission).

Apply to scatter ashes

Once you choose a location for scattering of ashes, you need to complete the required application form.​

Get a copy of the application form

How to apply

Email the completed application form to the appropriate cemetery team.

If you are unsure of the location of your chosen cemetery:

  1. check the Find a cemetery location page
  2. click on your chosen cemetery to see the correct email address in the 'Contact' section
  3. email the completed form to the relevant cemetery team.

Alternatively, you can hand in your completed form at the cemetery office during office hours.

Contact us

You can contact us for a list of people that provide guidance on this matter or you can discuss it with your funeral service provider.

You can also Find mana whenua contacts four your area.

For information about our cemeteries, phone 0800 4 CEMETERY (09 301 0101).

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