Scattering and Settlement of Ashes
When it comes to deciding what to do with the ashes of a loved one, there are many things to think about. This brochure offers guidance on making meaningful decisions on what to do after cremation and some of the things that you will need to consider.
Remembering your loved one
Scattering or burying ashes is often an act of remembrance – you might choose a place that meant something special to the person or their family, or you may be carrying out their wishes.
If you prefer a long-lasting option, interment at the Wairoa Cemetery may be the best choice for you.
Where can I scatter my loved ones ashes?
Scattering of ashes is a very personal and sensitive matter. Different cultures have different ways of dealing with cremation and ashes, and it is important that we think about this when considering where to scatter ashes.
Ashes can be scattered on private property, however the following guidance on waterways and sacred sites still applies. You must always ask the property owner’s permission before scattering on private property.
Waterways & Oceans
Dispersal of ashes in waterways is culturally inappropriate for Māori, whereas this is a special part of the cultural beliefs of others.
To use a site that traditionally has been approved for scattering ashes in flowing water, or to seek approval for scattering in any other ocean or waterway, you must first speak to tangata whenua (the people of the land). Council has a list of contacts and can provide guidance on seeking approval.
Places like maunga (volcanic cones) and food cultivation and gathering areas are considered wāhi tapu (sacred) to Māori and therefore it is culturally unacceptable to scatter ashes here.
Public Parks and Gardens
Ash scattering is not permitted in local parks and on sports fields, where residents and visitors picnic, exercise and relax.
Ashes can have a detrimental effect on the grass on sports fields, the health of plants within public gardens, and thought must be given to the gardeners who care for the plants too.
Wairoa District Council’s cemeteries do not have ash scattering gardens and ash scattering is not permitted. Our cemeteries offer ash burial options.
Cremation uses extremely high temperatures to reduce all remains to a fine, dark powder, which we call ashes.
Materials that remain, like fittings from caskets and metal medical items, are carefully removed. Ashes are placed in a box or urn and can be kept indefinitely, buried or scattered.
If scattering ashes, remember that they are very fine and can catch easily on the wind. Cremated ashes are rich in calcium, sodium and phosphorus. This can affect the alkalinity of the soil.
One-off scattering in ordinary environments, like fields or gardens, are unlikely to cause negative impacts, however on-going scattering can be harmful to plants and grasses.
To find out more about Wairoa District Council’s cemetery, including ash burial, contact:
+64 6 838 7309
To discuss the possible Maori cultural sensitivities of a site please contact:
Maori Relationships Manager
+64 6 838 7309