Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Waikumete Cemetery, its Biodiversity and Management

Penny Cliffin, Leslie Haines & Katrina Simon (UNITEC, Auckland)

The management of landscapes involves the evaluation of a wide range of physical, cultural, biological and temporal aspects, and decisions made as to how these aspects will be sustained or controlled over time. Ecological values, landscape design values, religious and cultural values, tree collection values, historical values, are among those which are typically identified by bodies charged with managing landscapes. These values may be mutually reinforcing and they may also be partially or directly in conflict, and critically, these values may change over time. Cemeteries are landscapes in which these potential conflicts in values are thrown into particularly clear relief, as they are landscapes in which communities and individuals have a high stake, which may endure for generations.

This poster outlines a case study of one significant cemetery in Auckland, Waikumete Cemetery. Examples of how some of these conflicts are evident within this site include:

  • The physical preservation of historic grave furniture and monuments may be in conflict with ecologically rich self-sown flora and the designation of a Wildlfower Sanctuary;
  • The desire to protect healthy specimens of historically important examples of structural planting is now at odds with the designation of some of these species as noxious weeds;
  • The designation of a large part of the cemetery site as a protected indigenous ecological zone is challenged by the reduction of the cemetery's time-span for future burials by up to 80 years.

The Waikumete Cemetery case study is used to develop a new model for identifying and relating different value sets by examining them within the ecological concepts of disturbance and its relationship to cultural and biotic diversity and complexity. Key features are traced over time and the range of deliberate and unintentional disturbances are examined. The importance of designatory events and the changed values these embody, are revealed as key determinants of change in the cemetery landscape.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

Follow this link to view other organisations supportive of the conference

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Last updated: October 12, 2003