A man paying his respects to his late dad at an Auckland cemetery is outraged after solemn moments were spoiled by a noisy fitness boot camp just metres away.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said he turned up to Purewa Cemetery in Meadowbank to spend a quiet moment at his dad's burial plot after work yesterday to remember him on his birthday.
But the tranquil setting and sanctity of the suburban graveyard was shattered by a group of fitness buffs working out to blaring pop music and loud voices.
"I go there on his birthday and the day he died every year. Suddenly I'm hearing music and these people are jumping up and down and someone yelling out, 'one, two' and on further investigation I found these people having their fitness class."
He said there were up to 15 in the group exercising directly outside the chapel, just metres from the plots where he was trying to pay his respects.
"I walked up to them and asked if it was really an appropriate place to be doing what they were doing. They seemed quite astounded that someone would be upset."
He was told they had permission from the Purewa Trust Board to run the class in the cemetery.
"I was amazed. They shouldn't be there," he said.
"It's a cemetery. I'm not particularly religious but this is not the place for this sort of behaviour. If you saw people hooning around and driving up and down playing loud music you'd say that wouldn't be acceptable behaviour so I don't see why running a fitness club in a graveyard is."
While he only ever planned to stay a short time at his father's plot, he had wanted it to be a special moment that was reflective and peaceful.
"I go to say hello to him and show him my respects," he said. "Instead all you can hear is the background noise. I don't think it was the time or the place to be doing it."
He had sent an email to the Purewa Cemetery Trust Board expressing his outrage and asking for the fitness classes to be held in a car park far from the burial site or to stop them altogether.
Board general manager Alastair Crombie today apologised to the Auckland man for the unfortunate experience, saying the fitness group should not have been operating in the grounds.
"In this instance the previous management did give this particular group permission to do this under cover in the winter months. That permission was removed and at the cemetery board's request I have told him that ceased four months ago. We have given him a letter and told him not to come."
Crombie said the group had been given a few months' grace to "phase out" running from the cemetery grounds due to the Covid pandemic, but by now their time was well and truly up.
"I'm going to have to go back to that group and reiterate our stance today."
He was not aware the group was still using the site until he received the complaint this morning.
He thanked the man for bringing the matter to his attention.