Everyday life can bring all kinds of expenses, but even in death the costs can leave a deep hole in one's pocket.

The latest fees for services at Auckland Council cemeteries are out and have been in place for the past month.

At Waikumete Cemetery in West Auckland, the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere, some charges for burial and cremation services have dropped or increased slightly in the last five years.

Other fees, however, have seen a significant jump in that time.


Burial fees for a single or double depth plot for an adult costs $1,108 this year. Last year, that would have been about $16 cheaper and in 2012, the fee would have been about $70 cheaper.

For a plot in the Chapel View area, that will cost a family $4,133 - up from $4,072 last year.

Those costs are the same or very similar to other big Auckland Council cemeteries around the city, including at the Manukau Memorial Gardens in Papatoetoe.

So for an average burial plot and burial service, that will cost a family just over $5,200 - a cost the Funeral Directors Association of NZ says is too expensive.

Chief executive Katrina Shanks said they were concerned that for people from low socio-economic backgrounds, coming up with $5,000 in four or five days was a difficult and near impossible task.

"Our concern is that it's taking away people's choice - that they can be buried or cremated - and we think that that's tragic when that basic choice is taken away from a family because it's unaffordable."

"We know that legislation says that cemeteries have to be accessible to everybody and accessibility must mean affordability. We don't think plots are available for low-income families, so it puts families under a huge amount of stress if they want to bury their loved one - and that's before you even start a funeral."

Other fees are added if a burial is held on the weekend, ($420) a public holiday ($980) or if it is held after 3.30pm ($420).

And forget about turning up late, as another $103 will be added to the bill 30 minutes after the booked time.

More than 1500 burials, 2800 cremations and 900 ash interments are carried out at Auckland Council cemeteries each year.

The Council manages 53 cemeteries around the city - 30 of which are operational.

Under the Burial and Cremations Act, purchasers of a plot have exclusive rights to use it for burial for up to 60 years.

Auckland Council acting manager for cemeteries, Ian Stupple, said the fees charged for a burial plot covered the ongoing maintenance of it as well as surrounding ground for that time period.

"The small adjustments to our fees this year reflect our maintenance costs and the average increase is 1.47 per cent across the region,'' he said.

"Our cemetery services aim to be cost-recoverable, to minimise expense to our ratepayers.''

Shanks said the affordability issue was one they regularly talked to the Council about, with the most recent meeting being last month.

She said the Council had a responsibility to deliver accessible cemeteries to all families, suggesting alternative solutions such as providing more affordable cemeteries a little outside of Auckland.

"Our funeral directors hear it every single day. They've got a family who desperately wants to bury their loved one and it's unaffordable for them, so cremation and scattering of the ashes because it's not as an expensive option for families.

"In communities in a lower [income] demographic, I think you've got to have solutions for them which are affordable. Saying $5,000 is affordable is ridiculous."


Burial for an adult:

• Single or double depth: $1,108

• Triple depth: $1,658

Cremation for an adult:
Fee: $589

For all Auckland cemetery fees and charges, visit: Auckland Council cemeteries