In Palmerston, New Zealand, permission to inter ashes in a new natural burial ground has been put on hold. The council wants a period of consultation in order to arrive at a “a better understanding of what sort of natural burial ground people want” in the light of the assertion by a councillor that “cremation is one of the most unsustainable practices you could have.”
Well, well, what a pertinent question! What sort of natural burial ground do people want? What price consensus on that — anywhere? You can tell New Zealand is new to all this.
In one important respect, the regulations for this NZ NBG are going to be a lot more enlightened than we see at almost every NBG in the UK. They’re going to change the bylaw requiring six-feet-under burial and require, instead, burial at a max of 1 metre, with a covering of 40cms (ie, around 15 inches). This is to ensure rapid, vibrant, aerobic decomposition.
Way to go, good people. But don’t stop there.
Yes, you can do even better. Turn your minds also to re-use of graves. What do you say to 30 years?
A burial ground that’s ever-active, 100% financially sustainable — there’s the goal of natural burial.
Story in the Manawatu Standard here.