A Very Pleasant Walk

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“God gave us memory so we may haveroses in December.”
J.M. Barrie

Yesterday here in New Zealand it was 31 January. The end of the first month of this new year and one has to ask where have the 31 days gone? 

After attending the first meeting for the year of our memory writing group and a quick lunch I decided that my walk that day would once again be in the grounds of the Karori cemetery. I am enjoying discovering this amazing area. So close to town and so accessible. Large – it covers an area of 40 hectares.  

But beyond the cemetery entrance and the chapels, the gardens and borders, it peters out into a grave-studied wilderness.

Some 83,000 bodies have been interred here and many have had their ashes deposited here. Burials can now only take place here in family plots or in the children’s area.

Karori Cemetery’s crematorium was New Zealand’s first crematorium and is the oldest in Australasia, opening in 1909. It carries out about 450 cremations a year

This is where we chose to deposit my DYS’s (Dashing Young Scotsman’s) ashes. I don’t feel the need to go there very often but on the rare occasions that I do (the last visit was in May 2019), I am pleased that we chose this place for him. His ashes are in the rose garden and that is self-explanatory.

 

I’m also pleased to say this is one of the areas that is still well maintained. And there were workers there on my visit.em

However it wasn’t the reason for going to the cemetery yesterday. The reason was to look at some of the older graves and some of the other areas of the cemetery. There are of course gravestones with angels, hands holding books, bibles etc all in concrete. There are mausoleums, family plots and of course, areas of special interest. 

One in particular  is entered through an arch much like a lychgate with the heading Peace Through Honour. Here are countless markers showing those who lost their lives during battles and conflicts: wars. What a waste of so many lives.

There is an area devoted to the 667 buried in Karori following the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. 

There is a children’s area; a Chinese area; a Jewish area etc etc. 

The paths and driveways meander around this huge space and it would take days to say that one had covered the whole area.

I shall go back often to explore this unexpected wilderness so close to town.

“To live in lives we leave behind is not to die”
Judith Baxter

JB February 1, 2022

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21 thoughts on “A Very Pleasant Walk”

  1. Cemeteries and crematoriums (crematoria?) are often lovely places to spend a tranquil half hour or so, especially when laid out like parks or gardens, even if you don’t have any personal connection to anyone laid to rest there.

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  2. Thanks Cat for the comment Even though Bob is there I don’t feel the need to go to visit very often. I am now concentrating on walking in this wilderness so close to the city.

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    1. It is amazing when in an old cemetery and you look at the old gravestones and think of the lives lived many years ago.. BTW The first person to be buried in Karori cemetery was Fred Fish a one-year-old. He had no marker until they were celebrating 100 years of the cemetery’s existence and they thought he deserved one. Just some more useless information for you.

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  3. I enjoy wandering in cemeteries, both local, and when I’m travelling. The cemetery on Grand Turk Island featured above ground cement boxes that encased the coffins, because the water table was so close to the surface. The cement had plastic vases often built into the top surface, for flowers. What looked, from a distance, like grass covering the grounds, was actually a pointy-leafed succulent that we grow as a house plant here in Michigan. I don’t know its true name, but have always known it as “mother-in-law’s tongue.” Very sharp to walk through, in shorts and flip-flops, I tell you!

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    1. Thanks Cindy. It’s amazing how many people are attracted to cemeteries. I think for most of us it’s a need to know what happened before we were here. Some years ago when guess we came across a cemetery where place in concrete or cement boxes and then on top of each other . For the life of me, this ancient mind cannot remember where it was. I think it must’ve been in the geothermal area, because I can’t think of any other reason for not burying them underground. Another topic for research

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  4. Your walk to Karori cemetery again takes us closer to dead people , means history . The history is not only that of a dilapidated Monuments but of dead people engraved in the cemetery . As you have rightly discussed that the cemetery has a crematorium also . We Hindus are cremated in the crematorium with all the rites and rituals , as we believe that there is a life after death and the soul is immortal . Thanks !

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      1. The Hindu way of life is completely different . We believe in birth and rebirth . We see soul as immortal . After death it takes rebirth in flesh and blood . After cremation , the soul leave the dead body . And as per our Karma ( worldly deeds ) , it moves forward . If you have no wish left in this mortal world , no need to take rebirth . And your soul will mingle with the super Conciousness or the Supreme soul .
        And if your worldly wishes are left , then you have to take rebirth . So , our aim of life is to get super Conciousness or supra Conciousness .
        These are our philosophical parts .

        So far as rituals are concerned . We offer five Pinds ( feeding boiled rice in milk and mixing sugar in it ) to the dead before being cremated . Ten days after cremation , we do Daskarm ( rituals of tenth day ) , then on eleventh day we do Akadash ( rituals of eleventh day ) , then we do Brahmbhoj ( rituals of Twelfth day ) , then we do Barkhi ( rituals of thirteenth day ) . Then the entire process of death Sacraments is supposed to be completed . All these rituals are done by the priest with enchantmen of the Vedic Hymes . Thanks !

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