Natural burials

Natural burialWaipā’s natural burial section is a peaceful location within Leamington Cemetery. The natural burial area will be planted in native trees in lieu of headstones, and location of plots will be recorded on Council's database using a GPS marker.

What is a natural burial?

A natural burial returns the body to the earth as quickly as possible. Everything used for the burial is biodegradable so the body is not embalmed and is buried within the active soil layer no deeper than 800mm. Caskets are to be made of untreated fibre or wood and non-toxic adhesives. Over time the area will be covered in native bush.

Ashes can also be buried in a natural burial site. The ashes must be treated to reduce their acidity and salinity and prevent any chemicals returning to the earth. 

Any item buried with the body must be biodegradable so personal items like accessories and jewellery cannot be buried in the casket.

What's a natural burial plot like?

The plot for a natural burial is different to a traditional grave site. A native tree is planted to mark the site instead of a headstone and the graves are identified by GPS co-ordinates and plotted on a cemetery map in Council's database.

Plots for natural burials are larger than traditional plots to ensure there is enough space surrounding each grave and also to allow for memorial plantings to grow. Plots are placed in a specific area so that the bush can grow.

Only one casket is buried in each plot and new plots are placed next to the last burial. Because of this we cannot allow reservations or allow plots to be picked in the natural burial section.

Ash burials will be placed between existing plants in the undergrowth area. Ashes can’t be added to existing casket plots. Families are also welcome to place a biodegradable wooden marker with their loved one’s name carved or burned into it on the ashes burial site.​

Native plant or tree memorials

A list of native plants and trees recommended for the natural burial site is available and families are invited to make their selection from this list. Arrangements for the planting of memorials will be made after the burial at the best time of year to ensure healthy growth. At the time of planting staff will prepare the hole before the tree is planted by the family or loved ones. For further information contact your local funeral director.​

Page reviewed: 24 Oct 2018 5:03pm