The resting place of legendary All Blacks coach Sir Fred Allen has been defended by the Environment Court, which has cancelled plans for factories next to a park-like Auckland cemetery.
Since early 2012, the unbeaten 1960s coach has been buried beside his wife, Norma, at Auckland Memorial Park in Silverdale.
He was a member of the trust for the perpetual maintenance of the 17ha park cemetery, whose managers appealed against an Auckland Council decision to rezone adjoining land for industrial buildings.
"Fred would have reacted badly to such a terrible proposal," said Alan Sayers, a friend for 65 years and fellow resident of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. "He thought it was a beautiful piece of land, gently rising, all-day sun, a lagoon and the trees being planted.
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"A walk beside a lake is named in his honour. It would be such a shame if alongside this private, peaceful place there would be factories."
Since 2001, about 1500 plots for ashes and burials have been sold for between $760 and $2950.
On three sides of the cemetery is open farmland mostly zoned "countryside living rural", but last year, Auckland Council introduced changes to the district plan to rezone a privately owned property on one side for six business sites.
"The council viewed the change as a small but logical extension to the supply of industrial land at Silverdale," said principal northwest planner Dave Paul.
The court considered that countryside living was a better use of the site than industrial and was not convinced that suggested planning controls would relieve the effects on the memorial park.
Auckland Memorial Park director Nigel Powell said the proposed building sites would have been seen by people in the park.
A neighbourhood within the countryside living zone was appropriate for the cemetery, which had space for 40-50 years' development and would soon have a crematorium.