Kiwis can

Charles 3 Comments

No pic. We can’t post a photo of the same old bloody bonfire every time we run a story about open-air cremation. 

Southland, New Zealand.

When Chris Ramage’s brother John died in hospital of natural causes just before Christmas 2011, his nephew (John’s son) wanted to witness his father’s cremation. In Chris’s words, “He wanted to cremate his father and he wanted to be present when it happened. The crematorium people weren’t going to let that happen – so he did it himself.”

He did it with Chris’s help. They built a huge fire which burned for two days. 

The affair has been investigated by the police and the case closed. 

It is legal to cremate dead people in New Zealand, but you’ve got to do it through the necessary paperwork. Sergeant Lury said: “It is my understanding that if he had asked for a certificate he would have got it.”

Campaigners for open-air cremation in the UK might do well to investigate the NZ model. 

Full story here


  1. Charles

    Good Morning,
    In the actual news article it says…WAS…and above it quotes ..IS…
    can you clarify on this please?
    Is it legal to still cremate in N.Z. or WAS it legal to cremate in N.Z.?
    Thank you in anticipation of answer!
    Fran Mahia

    “It was legal to cremate people in places other than a crematorium, with religious sects known to do so. However, a certificate was required, Mr De Lury said.”

  2. Charles

    Hi there
    It wasn’t legal but the police decided that an official warning will be the end of it. While DIY cremation is technically permitted here the legal bar is set high with a cumbersome consents process, so every now and then a family takes care of it themselves.

    See the brochure on “Before burial or cremation” on

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