When members of the Mangakahia Gardening Club saw a magazine article about a New Plymouth group tidying up their local cemetery it motivated them.

Now members of the club have joined the Friends Of Maunu Cemetery and spend some of their spare time volunteering at the old part of the cemetery to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Pat Gavin, from the club, said the article, which showed the work the New Plymouth group as doing, inspired them into action after seeing the sorry state of some of the old parts of Maunu Cemetery, in Whangārei.

''It looked beautiful (in the magazine article) and they had been doing it for about eight years, they were putting so much effort in to their cemetery to make it look superb,'' Gavin said.

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''So I thought, 'what about Maunu Cemetery?'. It was in such a poor state in the old part the it needed some TLC, so we got a group of people together and it's really paying off.''

Friends Of Maunu Cemetery were at Maunu recently weeding and planting around the old section of the cemetery, which is looking far better than when they started about two years ago. Then there were even trees starting to grow on some of the old graves, and some were not visible due to weeds and shrubbery.

''It's going really well - though we could always use some more volunteers - and the council helps by providing equipment and some plants, and it's really making the old cemetery look bright again.

''We do general tidying up, weeding, planting up there and people seem to really appreciate what we are doing there. We want the place looking hunky dory, but there are a lot of nooks and crannies in and around the graves in the old section that we have to clean up, so we have to be careful at times too.''

Gavin said doing the work also gave the Friends great satisfaction, as they were giving something back to their community, and making the cemetery experience better for those who had to visit.

She said anybody who wanted to get involved in Friends Of Maunu Cemetery can email terry.gavin@xtra.co.nz.