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Veterans' Affairs spends $650,000 on funerals and cemetery work

Veterans' Affairs spends $650,000 on funerals and cemetery work

We have installed nearly 700 new headstones and plaques for veterans in New Zealand this year and spent more than $650,000 overall on funerals, memorials, and maintenance work in cemeteries.

We have contributed more than $480,000 from our memorial fund towards funeral costs, headstones, and plaques for veterans with Qualifying Service. $170,000 from our capital works fund has gone towards constructing new berms, installing new seating, and re-affixing or replacing damaged headstones in cemeteries across New Zealand.

Some of the work has been significant, like replacing 44 terrazzo headstones in Wairarapa, while other projects have been smaller, such as repairing damaged berms in Waipawa.

“Caring for Services Cemeteries is a massive undertaking. The work we do would not be possible without the support of local councils and community groups like the NZ Remembrance Army” said Marti Eller, Deputy Head of Veterans’ Affairs.

“Services Cemeteries are a great way for communities to engage with their history. At Veterans’ Affairs we honour service and it is a privilege to play such an important role in many communites throughout New Zealand” she said.

Inspection and oversight of work in the 183 Servives Cemeteries in New Zealand is carried out by Bronze Plaques NZ, a contractor employed by Veterans’ Affairs. Bronze Plaques NZ is run by Chris Fraser, who has been a memorial stonemason for more than 30 years and whose work with us has taken him all over the country to inspect the cemeteries.

“Veterans’ Affairs takes care of cemeteries from Kaitaia to Bluff — from small plots in the heartland to massive cemeteries like Taita,” Mr Fraser said.

“Local councils, RSAs, and community groups all contribute to the work we do and it’s a pleasure to work with them to keep these spaces beautiful.”

Veterans’ Affairs manager of business services David Jahnke, who served in the New Zealand Army for five years, said even the smallest projects were important to communities.

“In Kaiapoi we replaced a seat, sign, and hardstand in the cemetery, so that the space is now more accessible to people who visit the cemetery and want a space to reflect,” Mr Jahnke said.

“Services Cemeteries are often gathering places on Anzac Day and Armistice Day, so fixing small things like berms can make the world of difference. It’s an honour to play a part in helping communities remember their veterans.”

Services’ Cemetery capital works projects funded by Veterans’ Affairs in 2020

Work that was done Cost
Eketahuna Services Cemetery: repaired a damaged berm and constructed a new berm $1,315.60
Featherston Cemetery: replaced three damaged terrazzo headstones $3,225.75
Green Park Cemetery (Dunedin): constructed a new berm and headstone bases $18,100.00
Kaiapoi Cemetery: installed a new hardstand, seat, and sign $13,800.00
Karori Cemetery (Wellington): repair a damaged grave $2,955.50
Masterton Cemetery: replaced 39 damaged terrazzo headstones $41,934.75
Martinborough Cemetery: replaced 2 damaged terrazzo headstones $2,150.50
North Shore Memorial Park (Auckland): re-secured 94 loose plaques $5,675.25
Pouawa Urupā, Tologa Bay Urupā, Whangara Urupā (Gisborne District): erected headstones on 15 unmarked Services graves $10,713.90
Riverside Cemetery (Masterton): re-secured 100 loose headstone bases $1,840.00
Sydenham Cemetery (Christchurch): repaired a damaged grave and installed a new headstone $1,192.30
Taita Lawn Cemetery (Upper Hutt): repaired and replaced 504 damaged headstone base $44,114.00
Waimate Cemetery: installed two signs $4,900.00
Waipawa Services Cemetery: replace three damaged berms $3,726.00
Whenua Tapu Cemetery (Porirua): a new entrance, paving, flag pole, seat, and sign $15,525.00

03 November 2020