Types of memorial
A single memorial is used if:
- a veteran is being memorialised alone (usually when there's no spouse or partner, or the spouse or partner's still living); or
- the veteran's already memorialised with granite headstone, then the spouse or partner passes away and their name needs adding.
A double memorial is used if:
- the veteran's already memoralised, with bronze or granite plaque; then
- the spouse or partner passes away, and their name needs adding. (A new memorial will be cast, with details of both people).
A service memorial may be a plaque or headstone, depending on place of interment.
The bronze plaque is the most widely used memorial, used in most service cemeteries. It measures 37 x 22cm and is made as a single or double memorial.
Granite plaques are rectangular (36 x 22cm) for burial plots; square (26 x 22cm) for cremation plots. They're used only in the Rotorua Services Cemetery, due to the corrosive nature of the air. Outside Rotorua, bronze plaques are used.
The granite headstone measures 76 x 38 x 7.5cm and contains the same information as a plaque but in slightly different layout.
Granite headstones may only be used in certain services cemeteries. Check with us.
Granite is an attractive and durable material that needs very little maintenance. The polished surface has been ground until a natural polish is obtained. It can be kept this way by occasional washing, using clean water to remove any film or dirt and then wiping dry with a clean cloth. If moss is growing on the rough rocky edges of an upright headstone, it can be cleaned away using a stiff brush and water. A moss retardant can be added to the water. The use of normal, mild household cleaners will not damage the granite, but may cause painted letters to wear more rapidly.
Bronze plaques are manufactured with a professional finish that presents the memorial design to its best advantage. After years of exposure to the elements, a natural finish, or patina, will replace this finish. This patina is a protective coating formed naturally when the manufacturer's coating weathers away. It isn't a film of colour on the surface of the bronze, but part of the bronze itself.
Natural weathering of bronze memorials is initially retarded by the protective coatings that keep the original finish intact for the first few years after manufacture. This protective coating is not permanent, nor meant to be.
The most highly prized colour of bronze is not its original colour but the rich, natural patina that only age and weathering can bring. The rate of patina formation depends largely on local atmospheric, weather and soil conditions and can vary greatly.
Changes in the colour of the bronze evolve gradually until the colour becomes stable, usually after seventy to eighty years. Changes in the original finish of the bronze memorial are part of the natural aging process. These changes are not uniform on a particular memorial, or even between two memorials in close proximity. The manufacturer's original protective coatings will weather at different rates and produce different temporary surface effects during the transition to a completely natural patina. These early changes in finish are temporary. Eventually, all memorials will adopt the patina tone, which their exposure to the elements dictates naturally.
Bronze memorials don't require special care to bring about the natural aging process. But ensuring artificial flowers and other objects are not left on the plaque reduces staining.
Some people prefer to delay the onset of the natural finish. If so, it's recommended the plaque be washed with detergent and warm water, and then coated with a thin film of car or floor polish. This can be applied with a soft brush, then buffed back. Take care to avoid a build-up of polish around the lettering and edges. The wax is best applied on a warm day and not more frequently than every 3 months.