Grave Filling Information
What is happening?
The filling in of a grave is a necessary part of the burial process and one which whanau and friends of the deceased usually want to participate in. While this is welcomed, there are procedures that need to be followed to avoid later sinkage of the soil, and associated hazards this causes. Visiting a loved one and finding the grave has sunk can be upsetting for whānau and friends but ensuring the correct procedures are followed will help prevent this occurring.
Why do the graves sink in over time?
The volcanic soil located throughout the District is prone to leaching, especially during periods of heavy rain.
What’s our process for filling in graves?
As the landowner South Waikato District Council engages an Open Space Maintenance Contractor whose duties also include the everyday maintenance of our cemeteries. That Contractor is required by contract to compact the graves at various depths while backfilling in order to prevent the graves from sinking. They are also responsible to ensure health and safety procedures are followed.
Whanau and friends who wish to fill in the grave of a loved one will need to do so at the guidance and direction of the Contractor, acting as Council’s appointed Sexton, who will be in attendance throughout the burial ceremony and will be available for any questions you may have.
The backfilling may commence any time after the casket has been lowered into the grave. The Contractor will make shovels or spades available to those who wish to assist in filling in the grave. The Contractor will give direction to those assisting and nobody is allowed to enter the grave at any time while the grave is being filled in.
Soil must be placed into the grave in a controlled manner to allow for compaction every 150mm. The Contractor will be responsible for compacting the fill by using a ramming tool.
The process of filling and compacting of the soil every 150mm will continue until the grave has been filled and a mound of soil no higher than 200mm has been constructed. Adornments including wreaths and floral tributes can then be placed on the mound which will be left in place as per South Waikato District Council cemetery rules and regulations for a period of 90 days. Before the expiry of the 90- day period the family must remove any adornments to allow the mound to be levelled, and the grave re-turfed by the Contractor.
Council warmly request that whānau and friends following this process, at the direction of the Contractor, as Council’s appointed Sexton.
If everyone plays their role, Council will ensure the resting place of your loved one will remain secure and tidy.