Auckland is running out of space to bury its dead.
"Several of Auckland Council's cemeteries are expected to reach full capacity within the next 10 years," says Auckland Council cemeteries manager Catherine Moore.
About 8000 people die in Auckland each year, but as the population grows and ages this figure is expected to reach more than 12,000 by 2038, according to a comprehensive cemetery study looking at future challenges and ways to ensure there is sufficient capacity to cope.
In a report presented to the council's parks, recreation and sport committee, Ms Moore said while there currently is capacity in the Auckland region from council-owned and privately-owned cemeteries for body burials, shortages are starting to appear.
Over the next 30 years the city needed 30,000 to 60,000 burial plots, she said.
"We have looked at current supply, taken into account future growth projections and where we expect to see increased demand, and given thought to future supply options," she said.
The report largely examines the demand for burials, which require more physical space and surrounding infrastructure, over cremation, which is more popular and has less of an impact on cemetery capacity. It looks at areas that will come under increased pressure, based on current growth projections and burial trends, and is the ground work required for a long-term acquisition and investment plan.
Committee chairwoman Christine Fletcher said the report demonstrated responsible stewardship and forward planning.
"Cemetery provision is an important council responsibility; it is our job to make sure that the needs of Aucklanders are met and that good decisions are made along the way.
"This is not an easy task, in a changing and growing region, but this detailed study gives us a high level of confidence when making decisions and setting priorities for the future," she says.
Future supply options may include expansion and land acquisition.
Death by numbers
- 12,000 people due to die in Auckland each year by 2038
- Central and west Auckland has least capacity
- New developments offer significant increased capacity in the north and south
- Highest numbers of deaths forecast in Orewa in the next 20 years