Purewa’s General Manager Alastair Crombie has been elected to the national committee of the New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective (NZCCC).
The collective recently held its two-yearly conference in Rotorua where representatives from the funeral industry nation-wide gathered to discuss a wide range of issues such as the need for careful land management, staff training and professional development and alternatives to cremation and traditional burial.
The NZCCC was established in 2012 and is supported by Recreation Aotearoa. The national committee is comprised of representatives from the Monumental Stonemasons Association, the Funeral Directors Association and senior management from both council-owned and private, independent cemeteries and crematoria.
Alastair says it’s important that Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium, as an industry leader, is at the table with other fellow sector representatives to discuss and help shape the future in New Zealand.
“One of the key issues is the careful conservation of cemetery land to maximise a shrinking resource and to ensure the land we do have left is wisely managed to offer traditional burial spaces for families,” he says.
“Another important function is to research and keep abreast of international science and funeral industry developments around body disposal, such as alkaline hydrolysis, which uses water and a mild alkaline solution combined with heat and pressure. This method is currently being introduced in the United States and the United Kingdom,” Alastair says.
There is also increasing public interest in natural burials where bodies are wrapped in cotton shrouds instead of a casket, and buried in a shallow earth grave in a less formal wooded area than a traditional cemetery.
The collective is working on staff training programmes and professional development to encourage standardisation throughout the sector and enable qualified staff to move more freely around cemeteries throughout the country.
The modern cemetery is not solely a place for burials and cremations but is also a community amenity where the public can walk, reflect and enjoy beautiful park-like grounds and gardens for their personal well-being.
“Purewa has been a leader in this field for some time and encourages our community to actively engage with our 20 hectares (55 acres) of landscaped gardens, walkways, paths and open spaces to appreciate the beauty and 133-year history we have here,” Alastair says.