The dappled sunlight and tranquil park setting of Purewa’s Walk of Memories creates one of the most contemplative strolls imaginable – another treasured aspect of what is widely regarded as Auckland’s most beautiful cemetery.
Now, just four years after its establishment the Walk of Memories is to be extended, to cater for the increasing popularity of memorialising ashes. The Purewa Cemetery Trust Board has approved a plan to extend the walk from its present length and 600-plaque capacity to an eventual 3km circumference of the cemetery grounds
‘‘Families looking for a fitting resting place for their loved one’s ashes responded so warmly to the Walk of Memories, we decided to approach the Trust Board with a concept plan to extend it,’’ says Purewa Cemetery general manager Clifton Thomson.
‘‘We were fortunate in having John Tik from engineering consultants Harrison Grierson as a Trustee to ensure a thoroughly professional plan was presented and approved.’’
The original walk was the brainchild of Clifton who had been looking for an alternative to the Garden of Remembrance as it neared capacity for ash interments. He saw potential in converting an old asphalt footpath on the park’s eastern side, and began developing the concept.
Today Stage One is at 50 percent capacity; Stage Two should begin in 2018, with new plots becomingavailable as the work is completed. Eventually the walkway will complete a circuit of Purewa’s 20 hectares, with provision for 4500 ash plots.
Both sides of the tranquil walkway feature a concrete berm on which families can place a granite tablet which can be engraved or have a bronze plaque adhered. There is also provision for bedrock memorials along the way.
Clifton says people love it being a peaceful pathway rather than a roadway. ‘It’s a most fitting place for contemplation, to remember loved ones and pay homage on a birthday or anniversary day or at Christmas. And with public access it’s a lovely place for anyone to walk.