Crosses mysteriously tampered with in Children's Sanctuary at Waikumete Cemetery

Some of the discarded crosses have identifiable names or plaques attached. Photo / Auckland Council
Some of the discarded crosses have identifiable names or plaques attached. Photo / Auckland Council

Wooden crosses marking the graves of 13 children have been tampered with at an Auckland cemetery.

Staff at Waikumete Cemetery are concerned after old wooden marker crosses and cross fragments from the Children's Sanctuary dating back 30 years were discovered last week discarded outside the burial area.

Waikumete Cemetery manager Roscoe Webb said they appeared to be thrown on the ground.

The crosses are small standard wooden memorial crosses and were placed at the West Auckland cemetery between 1985 and 2012.

Mr Webb said they all appeared to have been gathered from across the Children's Sanctuary which was formerly known as the Stillborn Sanctuary.

"It looks to us like the crosses, which are all quite old and not in the best condition, have been moved perhaps in an effort to 'tidy' them away.

"We also believe that these crosses were previously lying on plots or quite deteriorated by the passing of time," he said.

Mr Webb said some of the discarded crosses had identifiable names or plaques attached and the council would look at records and replace them.

"There are, however, a small number of crosses with no name -- we'll store these and work with any families that come forward to identify and return their crosses," he said.

Cemetery staff would attempt to get in touch with families and offer a new replacement cross to those who wanted them.

"We have carried out an initial search of our database and have family details for the eight crosses that had name plaques so we will attempt to make contact over the next day or so," he said.

Mr Webb said if people were concerned their loved one's grave might be affected by the crosses vandalism, they should approach council for help.

Inquiries could be made to Waikumete Cemetery on 09 818 5615.

- NZ Herald

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