‘Hooliganism’ in small rural cemetery sparks anger along Kapiti coast



Marilyn Aitken wants the Awa Tapu cemetery to be better maintained.


Marilyn Aitken wants the Awa Tapu cemetery to be better maintained.

The vandalism at a small rural cemetery north of Wellington angered a widow and the promise of stricter security measures.

Marilyn Aitken is fed up and asked the Kapiti Coast District Council to install security cameras in Awa Tapu cemetery during a recent council meeting.

She has visited the cemetery along Valley Road almost every day since her husband died last November.

Kapiti Coast District Council plans to tighten security at Awa Tapu Cemetery.


Kapiti Coast District Council plans to tighten security at Awa Tapu Cemetery.

“I have witnessed some very upsetting things happening up there … a van rolls over graves.

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“My sister ran after him down the aisle and asked him, ‘Did he have no respect? He quickly told her where to go.

“The cemetery was used as a race track, so the doors are locked at night. There were fresh tire tracks up there. [in March] and on Valley Road. This does not prevent people from going to the cemetery at night. “

Once, a ceramic photo of her husband’s gravestone was smashed.

All security cameras would only have to record, she said, and would not need staff to monitor them around the clock.

She also wanted the staff to take better care of the graves. At one point, she contacted the town hall after being surprised to see that her husband’s land had dropped by about two feet.

The next day, her husband’s grave was backfilled, but others were not. “Weeds are a big problem up there, because some graves are just weeds, not grass.

“I ask the councilors, the mayor, to help end this disrespect. Only then can the dead be left in pieces there.”

Concerned neighbors provided council with a written statement at a recent council meeting, outlining details of the nightly parties.

“For years, there have been problems with late-night parties in the cemetery or hooligans blasting their music all night long and causing burnouts,” the statement said.

“The cemetery is meant to be a place of rest and peace, but somehow the hooligans seem to be rampaging in this cemetery with no consequences.”

They reported incidents to the police.

A spokeswoman for the Kapiti Coast District Council said the mayor spoke to Aitken and the police after the meeting.

“He called for an increase in cemetery patrols, and more cameras are currently being reviewed as there is already one located at the crematorium.

“Our Parks and Recreation team also met with the police to discuss the situation and possible solutions.

“Since Christmas, the cemetery gates have been closed at night, then reopened in the morning.”

Anyone caught in the act of violating cemetery regulations is liable to a fine of up to $ 20,000.



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