Purewa is getting a floral makeover in the oldest parts of the 131-year-old cemetery thanks to Meadowbank resident Miriama Toms.
Miriama’s 16-year-old son Felix died last year of sudden unexpected death due to epilepsy, and is buried in E block, one of the older parts of the cemetery where many graves sites and headstones have fallen into disrepair because there are no family members to look after them.
Miriama says her family chose the E block site because it’s the closest part of Purewa to their nearby home and the feeling that her son is always with them.
“Purewa has been a lovely place to grieve. In this busy and uncertain world today it’s a place where it’s acceptable to grieve,” she says.
“I decided to plant cottage garden type flowers for Felix to create a little bit of heaven for him. The flowers symbolise eternity both in the past and the future and provides a beautiful mindfulness space,” Miriama says.
Seeing the lovely impact of the flowers she then began planting on nearby graves which were clearly unattended. To date more than 20 graves have been planted and Miriama would love to see more achieved with the help of local volunteers who might be interested.
By picking the deadhead flowers she has gathered seeds which she’s happy to share with anyone keen to help her with her mission to beautify old graves in E block.
Sue Cooper, Coordinator of the Friends of Purewa, says she’s delighted with the planting of flowers in old graves and looks forward to Miriama gathering a little group of volunteers to continue to beautify the cemetery’s oldest areas.
“This is similar to the work that’s been done by volunteers at the Te Henui cemetery in New Plymouth where old graves have been transformed into living beauty by planting flowers, and it’s a lovely tribute to those buried there.”
The General Manager of Purewa, Alastair Crombie, says an old part of the cemetery has taken on new life with the plantings and he’s delighted to see the beautiful results.
“Miriama’s initiative along with the Purewa Trust Board’s plan to work through the oldest parts of the cemetery restoring early graves that have been worn down by time, result in a type of regeneration and respect for the past while giving families and visitors something beautiful to look at and remember,” he says.
If you are interested in helping Miriama’s planting programme please contact Kathy Goodwin 027 256 3839.