Scattering the ashes of loved ones on beaches, rivers or parks in Kapiti will be actively discouraged by council, if a draft cemeteries bylaw gets the nod.

Kapiti Coast District Council open spaces manager Nico Crous said if the new bylaw was endorsed by council next month, people would be encouraged to contact council first about their human ash scattering intentions.

"And our stance in that case would be explaining how other members of the community would feel about that, explaining where we provide opportunities for that practice, and discouraging somebody from taking them to somewhere like a beach or at the river's edge."

Mr Crous said the issue wasn't about "policing or wielding the rod" but about "providing guidance and education".


Specific scatter gardens in cemeteries was the best place for ashes "first and foremost" though each case would be reviewed separately.

But if people still intended to scatter ashes on beach, at a river or in a park, council wasn't "going to come down and force you to stay away".

He said the reasoning behind the move was due to "best practice nationwide".

"It has become something which is going into a lot of bylaws throughout the country."

Council was also "well aware that it is unacceptable practice and offensive to various cultures within our community".

Humans ashes could have an "ecological impact" and be damaging to sealife and plant life.

And "we're trying to be a bit visionary as well and anticipate what our community wants".

He noted the Cemeteries and Cremations Act was being reviewed at the moment and that the Law Commission was submitting on it and saying guidance and education should be given on the issue.

"They specifically say, nothing in their proposal, prevents a local authority from implementing a bylaw within its region, enforced by an offence and a fine, but we will steer away from the latter, we don't want to take that route, everyone is quite emotional when doing things like this [scattering ashes] and we have to bear that in mind."

Restricting ashes to cemeteries also meant memorialisation [placing of a plaque] could happen at a later date, said Mr Crous, who is also board member of the New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective, which is an advisory body for local authorities seeking advice about burial practices.

Paekakariki-Raumati ward candidate Guy Burns felt the issue was "a case of bureaucracy gone mad".

"Too many staff with too little to do creating rules and regulations for no good reason.

"It's a classic case of council trying to regulate without a real problem definition and no viable solutions.

"Kiwis have a tradition of scattering ashes in the natural environment.

"This is creating more work for extra staff that ratepayers can ill afford.

"It is time council started focusing on its core business, and moving away from pointless regulation."