Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium has been serving the people in the eastern suburbs since 1889.
The St John’s land was purchased by Bishop Selwyn from the Crown in 1844, and the St John’s Theological College was established on part of the land in 1844-1845, and remains there today.
The need for a cemetery nearer to the fast growing city of Auckland in 1886, prompted the Anglican Synod to ask the St John’s Trust for land for this purpose.
Fifty-five acres was set aside, and on January 17, 1889 the first burial took place. In 1937 the Auckland Anglican Diocesan Synod established an independent Trust Board, the Purewa Cemetery Trust Board, to which the cemetery was transferred.
The Trust Board is appointed by the Diocese. Purewa is the only privately run cemetery in the eastern suburbs. Many notable New Zealanders and Auckland families are buried there.
In November 1957, the All Saints Chapel which accommodates 208 people was opened along with a crematorium, and in 1982, a second chapel was built, the all Souls Chapel catering for 56 people, and a second new cremator began operating.
The Lounge of Remembrance opened in 2003 to provide catering facilities for families, and in January this year, a second lounge, the St John’s Lounge, was opened to accommodate the growing demand for after-funeral catering.
Purewa is the only cemetery and crematorium in New Zealand able to offer two chapels and two family reception lounges. Constant upgrading over the years has resulted in Purewa offering some of the best and most innovative burial options in New Zealand. During 2001, two niche columbarium walls were built and, by 2004, six kidney-shaped memorial gardens were installed.
In 2013, the Walk of Memories was created providing 565 plots in a new creative setting. Refurbishment of the Lounge of Remembrance is planned for next year, and later this year, a Mosaic Walkway will be created by well-known Warkworth mosaic artist Joy Bell.
This beautiful mosaic path is being created as a special place for families to visit and remember new born and still born babies who have died. Bright colours and a butterfly theme will provide a perfect living memorial for these precious little ones.
Edith Ng of Ng’s Funeral Services says Purewa is favoured by many Chinese families because of its location and the easy access to public transport for visiting family members.
“Some families also appreciate being able to burn incense in the chapels as part of the service, which some other cemeteries don’t allow,” she says.
The ability to live stream services to relations and friends overseas is another reason Purewa is so popular, she says.
Purewa’s beautiful park-like setting in such a central location pays homage to its rich history, while offering families the latest technology and catering facilities to meet the needs of today.