Man­ag­ing dis­trict ceme­ter­ies not just a job - Dei­dre

North Waikato News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -


‘‘I went into Whatawhata Ceme­tery to look at putting in seat­ing and I said you know what, this is my favourite ceme­tery, it’s a bit weird, I know.’’

The Hamil­ton res­i­dent has only been in the role for three years but it’s where she hopes to stay.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from fu­neral di­rect­ing to ceme­tery man­ag­ing, I know what fam­i­lies go through, when they come to us, they don’t want any is­sues.’’

Mak­ing the whole process as smooth as pos­si­ble is what she strives for.

‘‘I think it’s just hav­ing the em­pa­thy, putting your­self in their shoes.’’

Any is­sues that arise need to be dealt with as soon as pos­si­ble.

‘‘It’s not the line of work where you say, I’ll do it­ally, the re­spon­si­bil­ity that all goes well lies on me.

‘‘With a Mus­lim burial, they gen­er­ally have it within the 24 hours so I have to call con­trac­tors im­me­di­ately.’’

Mac­Don­ald also some­times tak­ing af­ter hours phone calls due to the na­ture of the job - which she doesn’t mind.


We con­tinue our On the Job se­ries, fea­tur­ing lo­cals do­ing the work in our com­mu­ni­ties that make a dif­fer­ence. Caitlin Wal­lace re­ports.

with fu­neral directors and fam­i­lies is just one part of her job, how­ever.

There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

‘‘I don’t think peo­ple think it’s so hands on, they think I’m just sit­ting in an of­fice.

‘‘There’s a lot of reg­u­la­tions to be ad­hered to and there’s some sen­si­tive is­sues here.’’

The grass has to be kept at a cer­tain level and head­stones have to meet cer­tain guide­lines.

Around four or five days af­ter a burial, Mac­Don­ald has to en­sure the dirt mound is lev­elled off by con­trac­tors.

Keep­ing ev­ery­thing look­ing its best is an im­por­tant part of the job. The whole vibe of a ceme­tery is an im­por­tant part of a fam­i­lies jour­ney of lay­ing their loved one to rest, she said.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t want to go to a ceme­tery and see it un­cared for, I go back to the sen­si­tiv­ity of the job, it’s just nat­u­ral for me.’’

Ceme­tery of­fi­cer Dei­dre Mac­Don­ald has a big job look­ing af­ter more than 20 ceme­ter­ies in the dis­trict.

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