Friday, 22 May 2015

Tauranga Cemetery

Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Wesleya Ceneteries, Tauranga
Image courtesy of Google Earth

By May 1879 the decision had been made to establish a new cemetery outside the Borough on land between 17th and 18th Avenues with Grace Road to the east and Devonport Road to the west.[1] Burials continued in the “Old” or “Military” cemetery in family plots and of veterans of the NZ Wars. 

Trustees of the Tauranga Cemetery were appointed representing the main religious denominations with Thomas Tunks representing the Anglicans; Michael Brennan, Roman Catholic; Samuel L Clarke, Presbyterians; Jonathon Brown, Wesleyans; and Asher Asher, Hebrew.[2]

As the largest congregation in Tauranga the Anglicans received 7 acres, with diminishing acreage for the other denominations. The first burial occurred in the Anglican section in May 1881 following the death of Mrs Augusta Corlett.  Due to the “depredations of pigs and cattle” fencing the cemetery became an issue and Asher Asher proposed that the town be canvassed for subscriptions.[3]

The Trustees appointed the first sexton, Joseph Ransley in 1882 and he was to receive nine shillings for burying an adult and six shillings for a child.[4] Tenders were called for fence posts, won by Messrs Phillips & Hegarty’s tender of 3s 6d per chain[5]

Joseph and Kate Brain's grave marker
As Fraser Street bisected the cemetery the Trustees requested permission to install gates at the street entrance as the fencing was completed. However, views changed and in 1883 a petition was prepared for Parliament requesting Fraser Street cease being a public road and the land be vested in the cemetery.[6] Obviously this did not occur.  The Trustees proposed to accept tenders for the grazing of sheep at this time as the large area of bare land needed to be clear of vegetation.  The community and church control ended in 1886 when the “new” cemetery was vested in the Borough Council rather than the cemetery Trustees.

In 1963 the Council sold some of the land for housing and the money raised contributed to the purchase of farmland for the Pye’s Pa cemetery. The Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Methodist cemeteries remain but as there were no burials in the Hebrew section that acre was included in the sale.  A modern building on this site appears to be a mosque.

[1] BOP Times 13 May 1879
[2] BOPT 8 Oct 1879
[3] BOPT 27 Sep 1881
[4] BOPT 22 Apr 1882
[5] BOPT 27 June 1882
[6] BOPT 29 May 1884

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