What are your thoughts on natural burial?

Thursday 20 September 2012, 12:58PM
By Palmerston North City Council


Palmerston North City Council is proposing to develop a natural burial cemetery that reflects the special characteristics of the region and the families who plan to choose this end-of-life option.

Natural burial involves the body being buried at a shallow depth in the biologically active soil layers to enhance decomposition. The body is not embalmed and is contained in an untreated wooden coffin or cotton shroud. There are no headstones permitted and trees or shrubs are planted on the plot as a memorial.

A natural burial is an alternative end-of-life option for an increasing number of people in the western world. It is popular in the United Kingdom and America and is offered in New Zealand in several regions including Wellington, Kāpiti Coast and New Plymouth with Christchurch, Blenheim and Palmerston North planning to introduce the option. 

Leisure assets officer Brian Way said, "City Councillors listened to those residents who made submissions on Natural Burial to the annual and long term plan and agreed to fund the establishment of a natural cemetery within the City."

"At present we are considering what land could be made available, and we would like to get feedback from the public on how they see the natural cemetery looking in 50 or 100 years' time," he said.

If you would like more information or to leave a comment on the development of a natural cemetery please email: