Cemetery flowers in new status
From Alba Semi Plena to William Lobb – the heritage roses are blooming marvellous at the Pauatahanui burial ground.
The site, below St Alban’s Church, is a burial ground that contains a who’s who of the area’s historic families.
But this time of year it’s what’s happening above ground that holds prominence.
The roses are in full colour, and the collection of about 125 varieties – from cuttings brought by settlers to those planted by volunteers since 1991 – has been officially recognised as ‘‘nationally significant’’ by Heritage Roses New Zealand.
The project to clear the overgrown and neglected burial ground has been co-ordinated for 23 years by Rosemary Patterson.
She said a group of dedicated people comes together about eight times a year to tend the roses.
She praised Porirua City Council parks staff, who keep the burial ground mown and largely weed-free.
The council legally took over the running of the burial ground in 2007.
‘‘We used to mow it ourselves, so not to have to do that, and just look after these wonderful roses, has been terrific,’’ Patterson said.
‘‘The council have been very supportive.’’
She said the original group of volunteers in 1991 was inspired by the old roses at Bolton St Memorial Park in Wellington.
She said she was delighted to receive the official recognition after the efforts of so many volunteers. ‘‘It is a peaceful place for people to come, to sit or wander around.
‘‘It’s been such a lovely project to be a part of.’’
burial ground is open to the elements but the roses are hardy, like the first settlers.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said the heritage rose collection site was one Porirua should be immensely proud of.
The burial ground is open to the public every day, free of charge.
Rosemary Patterson says the roses at the burial ground need constant cutting and tending.