Pahiatua-Mangatainoka Cemetery columbarium wall reconstruction update

The Pahiatua-Maingatainoka Cemetery columbarium wall reconstruction is about to start. In September 2021 the columbarium wall, which was used for the interment of niches (the concrete blocks that contain the interred ashes and plaque) containing ashes, collapsed after fierce winds. Now that the required materials, including matching bricks and name plaques for the niches, have been sourced, reconstruction of the replacement wall and strengthening of the two remaining walls can begin. Among other reinforcement works, new steel frames will be added to the walls to provide resistance against earthquakes and extreme winds.

Following the wall collapse, the site was blessed by local kaumatua and all 104 niches were retrieved, photographed, and documented. One niche sustained significant damage and a further eight were partially damaged. All niches are securely stored in the Pahiatua Council Chambers. In a mammoth effort, all confirmed family members were contacted, including those residing overseas.

Tararua District Council Mayor Tracey Collis is one of the many people who assisted over the last few months; “I have been impressed with the deep respect shown by all who have stepped up and helped out over the last months. Our community really rallied together in a time of need. On behalf of Council, I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to the team of volunteers, including iwi, councillors, emergency services, council staff, residents, and local businesspeople, who have been dedicated to make this as compassionate as possible. We would also like to express deep gratitude to all the families of the deceased for their patience, understanding of the situation, and for appreciating the respectful and compassionate way this situation has been handled.”

The construction work will be carried out by local contractors Morris and Bailey and is estimated to be finished towards the end of April. Once done, the niches and the reconstructed walls will be blessed and interred back into the columbarium walls at the Pahiatua-Mangatainoka Cemetery.