Headstones and plaques
A permit is required for all headstone and plaque installations. You can personalise a headstone or plaque to honour a loved one - but it must comply with our guidelines around size, design, material and installation.
Work must be carried out by a qualified monument-installer, preferably a member of the Master Monumental Masons Association.
Apply online: Permit to install or work on a headstone/plaque.
Waipā District Council Cemeteries Bylaw: Cemeteries Bylaw (2013)
Any exceptions to the above must be approved first by the authorised officer of the Waipā District Council and may include a fee for any extra berms that may need to be laid.
Waipā District Council prefers the use of permanent, durable materials in the construction of memorials as these are not easily damaged or broken and may last for more than 50 years.
Recommended materials for monuments include:
- Granite or other suitably hard stone
- Stainless Steel
Recommended materials for plaques include:
- Granite or suitably hard stone
Any exceptions to the above must be approved first by the authorised officer of the Waipā District Council.
Inscriptions and designs
Under the Cemeteries Bylaw (2013), Section 10.3 offensive language or offensive symbols are prohibited. These may include foul or explicit language, hate speech, gang insignia, inappropriate or explicit images, or images associated with violence or violent groups.
Method of fixing and securing
All monuments and plaques must be installed, removed, or reinstated to the standards set out in the current New Zealand Standards.
Health and safety, contractor expectations
All contractors working on site will observe health and safety guidelines as set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015).
- The work area must be marked off with a safety barrier or hazard cones
- If any headstone or plaque should become loose or unstable Council shall contact the installing contractor to come and re-secure said headstone or plaque
- No contractor shall work in a cemetery during an interment/funeral service
- All contractors performing work in the cemetery must leave the site in a tidy and safe condition. If the site is not considered to be tidy and safe after work is complete the contractor will be asked to return and tidy the site to acceptable standards
- Acceptable standards include leaving no parts of stone, concrete or other debris on or around work site, leaving the lawn with no extensive damage, reporting and arranging for the repair of any damage caused to any cemetery structure or vegetation
The purpose of the Monument Permit is to aid Waipā District Council in the management of cemetery records, to improve the visual amenity of cemeteries and to monitor the condition of monuments and plaques through maintenance and consistent standards.
The permit is to be completed and returned to the Council offices 10 business days before work is due to begin to allow time for processing and to advise of any service(s) that may be scheduled to avoid conflict.
Any new monument or plaque that is found to be non-compliant or installed without a permit will be subject to an order for removal or repair to be served on the contractor, or where the contractor cannot be identified, the next of kin of the deceased. Waipā District Council bears no responsibility for costs incurred by an order for removal or remediation.
If a monument or plaque is found to have come loose or otherwise not securely fixed to its base an order for removal or remediation will be issued to the contractor for action within 30 working days.
Only one structure is permitted on each plot.
Relatives and/or trustees of the deceased are responsible for the ongoing maintenance and repair of the monument
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a permit for my headstone or plaque?
Anyone who wants to repair, remove, reinstate or install a headstone or plaque within cemeteries administered by Waipā District Council must first apply for a permit. Your funeral director or stonemason can apply on your behalf. Please note: RSA cemeteries don’t require a permit.
Who maintains headstones?
The ongoing maintenance, upkeep and repair of the memorial or headstone is the responsibility of a relative or designated representative.
Can we install a headstone ourselves?
Headstones and plaques must be installed by an accredited member of the Master Monumental Association. Members of the public can apply for work to be performed in a cemetery on your behalf by an accredited member.
Apply online: Permit to install or work on a headstone/plaque.
Council will approve the headstone after installation – you must provide a photo of the finished work within ten days of installation to email@example.com
What can be done about graffiti or damage?
If a headstone is damaged it is the family’s responsibility to have it fixed, and if damage is dangerous for the public, it must be fixed immediately. It is the family's responsibility to remove any graffiti from headstones, however we will assist with this.
Am I allowed to put in flower holder vases?
Only in the holes provided. No glass jars please.
Does the council provide white crosses?
They can be obtained through your funeral director, and are only permitted until the installation of a headstone or plaque.
I’ve never had to apply for a permit in the past, why do I need to now?
A new bylaw came into effect on 1 November 2018 and added new permit requirements to help better manage our cemeteries. This is to make sure that headstones and plaques are appropriate and meet our standards and guidelines.
Existing headstones and plaques are exempt, the new rules only apply to headstones and plaques installed from 1 November 2018.
When will I hear back about my application?
You must apply at least ten working days before the work starts.
What counts as inappropriate headstone/plaque content?
Anything that is obscene, offensive, or likely to cause distress. This may include foul or explicit language, hate speech, gang insignia, inappropriate or explicit images, or images associated with violence or violent groups. This is at the discretion of the Manager – Community Facilities.
Can I have one headstone for two sites?
Yes, single-depth sites like at Pukerimu Cemetery and Leamington Cemetery can cater for this. Double-depth grave sites are more difficult to access and would be at the discretion of Council.
What if removal of the existing headstone is done one day, and installation is done on another?
You will need to submit two different applications, one for each day of work.
What happens to flowers, wreaths and adornments?
Memorials including headstones, monuments and memorabilia such as flowers and trinkets are welcome in Waipā cemeteries.
After the burial, the grave is levelled and turf replaced straight away to keep the cemetery tidy and help with maintenance. Flowers and wreaths that are on the casket at the time of burial will be laid on top of a grave after it is backfilled. These will remain in place for up to 28 days and then they will be removed and disposed of by Council so that maintenance can be done.
Any objects or flowers placed at the grave site after the 28 day period must be kept within the concrete berm at the head of the grave.