Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium witnessed a ceremony of a different kind on Friday February 17, with the official opening and blessing of the new St John’s Lounge.
The funeral lounge was formally opened by the Bishop of Auckland, the Right Reverend Ross Bay, and blessed by the Right Reverend Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Bishop of Tai Tokerau.
About 100 guests, civic leaders and representatives of the Anglican Church, which gifted the land in 1889, experienced a first-hand demonstration of the lounge’s spacious indoor-outdoor facilities, state of the art audio-visual technology, and catering capability. St John’s Lounge enjoys a peaceful location with a view of All Saints and All Souls Chapels, the Purewa grounds and Fancourt Reserve.
Although officially opened on Friday, St John’s Lounge has been in use since early January for after funeral functions and as an over-flow facility for large funeral gatherings using the wall-mounted 85-inch screen and live streaming.
Purewa Cemetery general manager Clifton Thomson says families have been very appreciative of the lounge and its facilities, while feedback from neighbours in Fancourt Road has also been complementary in terms of how well it fits into the street environment.
‘‘It’s pleasing that the community is embracing and enjoying it right from the outset,’’ he says. ‘‘We’re also pleased to have two after funeral function lounges to complement our two chapels, and to have the ability to cater for every funeral gathering.
Auckland is growing at a fast rate and the need for having a facility such as Purewa with chapels, cremation facilities and after funeral catering services is also increasing. The use of St John’s demonstrates the need for a new lounge, and the foresight of the Trustees to build it.’
St John’s Lounge can accommodate up to 150 people inside, with undercover patio space for another 100. Automatic ceiling louvres can be opened in fine weather and closed when wet. Other features include a floor to ceiling glass wall overlooking an open green space, under-floor heating, a full service catering kitchen, and spacious and comfortable bathroom amenities.