NEW BYLAW TO COVER ALL BURIAL TRADITIONS
The bylaws governing burials and cremations across the Auckland region are now under review with the council proposing one bylaw for all. Reporter James Ireland looks at the impact the city’s increasing cultural diversity is having on its cemeteries.
Katrina Shanks says it is essential for people to adapt to changing demographics.
‘‘We need to make sure local councils are advised of the changes that need to take place to allow migrant communities to continue their cultural practices as much as possible.’’
Law Commission president Sir Grant Hammond agrees and says a desire to reinforce connections to places and ancestors is common for many grieving relatives.
He says it is important that the law does not unreasonably restrict the ways in which people of different beliefs and cultures express those needs.
The commission last year reviewed New Zealand’s Burial and Cremation Act which had experienced only small changes since it was passed in 1964.
New Zealand’s population of 2.1 million was made up of 92 per cent Europeans and 6 per cent Maori when the act came into being.
Now it includes 74 per cent European, 15 per cent Maori, 12 per cent Asian, 7 per cent Pacific and 1 per cent Latin American and African.
That adds up to 109 per cent because people who identify with more than one ethnicity are counted twice.