Earthworks have begun in the paddock adjacent to Mangaroa Cemetery (part of the cemetery’s 8.1-hectare site by the Hawke’s Bay prison), putting down concrete beams for headstones and new burial plots.
With burial spaces across Hastings District Council’s four cemeteries (Hastings, Havelock North, Puketapu and Mangaroa) set to be filled or booked by next year, preparations for new ground have been in the pipeline for a while. The cemetery extension will create the potential for an extra 5,206 plots, which is estimated to meet the district’s need for the next 40 years.
Figures reported in 2018 show that on average there are 124 bodies interred in cemeteries across Hastings each year, with 714 cremations and 200 ash interments. But with an ageing population that’s set to rise.
Mangaroa Cemetery hosts Hawke’s Bay’s only natural burial site too. Those choosing the eco-option are not embalmed and are buried in a shallower grave to allow for faster break-down (1.2m deep as opposed to the standard 1.8m, though eco-burial experts say the ideal depth is 50cm-1m for ecologically beneficial decomposition), either in an untreated wooden coffin or wrapped in a shroud.