With wobbly angel wings on her great-great-grandparents' grave, Dannevirke's Gay Warrington realised she needed some divine intervention to preserve the headstone and gravesite.

"As I was steadying myself on a ladder cleaning and holding on to the angel's wing, I realised it was wobbling on its plinth," Gay told the Dannevirke News.

The grave of her great-great-grandparents Catrene and Boye Rosenbeck is one of the earliest in Mangatera Cemetery.

Among the district's early settlers, Catrene and Boye arrived with their four children and other settlers in Napier on March 17, 1875. They had just one shilling when they reached Takapau, where they pitched their tent and Mr Rosenbeck began work on building the railway.


They later shifted to Ormondville for five years before they acquired a farm at Makaretu where they remained for 22 years.

They then moved to Mangatuna for five years, before going to live in Te Rehunga. After selling their property the family moved to Dannevirke and retirement.

"The angel was sitting on a marble plinth but was no longer secure, so as a family we contracted Headstone World from Hawke's Bay to restore it and the grave," Mrs Warrington said. "Parts of the grave were cracking and you do see other ones cracked and falling in around the cemetery and I didn't want that to happen here."

Kim Stops, owner of Headstone World in Hawke's Bay, told the Dannevirke News he would carry out a full restoration of the Rosenbeck plot and a full clean, as well as ensuring the angel was secure.

"I'm excited to be working on this, one of the first plots in the cemetery. It's just a delight to see family take that interest," he said.

There was a lot of precision work before the angel was again on its plinth, minus the wobble last Thursday morning.

The Mangatera Cemetery was unique too, Mr Stops said.

"It has the largest collection of glass domes in New Zealand and with their leaves of molten lead they're extremely unique."