Taita Natural Burial Cemetery

I was asked by the Hutt City Council to come up with a concept idea for the Taita Cemetery in response to increasing demand and interest in natural burials. A site was found – a scrub and regenerating Manuka covered hill on the edge of the cemetery surrounded on 3 sides with regenerating native bush. The concept design is based entirely on the simple form and meaning of the emerging native fern frond. The fern frond inspires the “Koru” maori symbol and symbolises new life, regeneration, renewal and growth, both physically and spiritually. Translations also include the concepts of “everything being reborn” and “hope for the future”. This therefore seemed to be an entirely appropriate element to develop the design concept around, and it also suited the practical requirements of the layout very well. The design begins with the main “stem” – a wide pathway which is also accessible...
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Shannon War Memorial Gardens

Shannon always had a few war memorials – but they were either surrounded in asphalt at  the bus turnaround area or scattered around the Railway Station area, some almost completely hidden by trees. The decision was made to relocate the smaller memorials to one area around the main Cenotaph and develop the Shannon War Memorial Gardens.  This area gives a place of dignity and remembrance for the local community and is in a prime spot – right at the centre intersection. The rose gardens create a central display and are surrounded by a selection of plants of significance to the various wars fought and the countries involved. South African, Greek, Turkish and French species are included amongst the native New Zealand Rimu, Totara and smaller flowering species such as  Renga renga lilies etc. The whole area is enclosed by a Macrocarpa hedge, a typical meditteranean species, and pergolas highlight access points into the...
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Avenue Cemetery, Levin

Most cemeteries are pretty sad looking places – and this one was no exception. As each burial plot was filled, so the monotonous rows spread across the empty paddocks… Finally the Horowhenua Parks Dept thought enough was enough. The surroundings of this cemetery have huge potential for creating a beautiful environment for contemplation, spiritual renewal, grieving etc. The foothills are not far away, there is a semi-wooded deep gully along one side and a small remnant of native forest survives within the boundary. The design concept develops the theme that each person buried here becomes part of the whole – part of the pattern etched on the landscape, not just another plot in the endless, repetative rows. The design creates spaces which are recognisable to visitors – they have less need to remember the number of the row – they remember instead where their loved one is relative to points...
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