Three more cemeteries in central and western Auckland are set to run out of space for burials within the next 10 years.

Of the 29 operational cemeteries in the region, Helensville, Warkworth and Swanson are affected.

That's on top of the crisis that the country's biggest cemetery, Waikumete, is facing with only four more years until it's expected to hit capacity.

Records show more than 90,000 people have been laid to rest in various ways there since 1886.


Waikumete is one of two Auckland cemeteries to provide for Muslim burials and the only one to provide for Jewish burials.

It also has a large crematorium - which at the weekend was opened up for visitors to look at to better understand how the process works.

Local politician Sandra Coney told NZH Focus Waikumete Cemetery is a rich part of New Zealand's history.

A large number of the thousands killed during the influenza epidemic in 1918 are buried there, she says.

"There are notorious criminals, there are sports people like Bruce McLaren. There's also three [Victoria Cross] winners, some of our most decorated soldiers, like Stanley Judson."

Coney has three generations of family buried at the cemetery, and she too wants to eventually be laid to rest there.

She has already bought a plot for herself at Waikumete to ensure that can happen.

Others might soon have to do the same, as the cemetery is running out of space for burials.


"There's only about four years more capacity in this cemetery," she says.

"It's a bit sad really because there's such an Auckland connection with this cemetery.

"We've had well over a 100 years of people being buried here so most people in Auckland except for newcomers, will have family members probably in this cemetery."

She says the Auckland Council needs to be looking for another large site - and fast - in the area.

Auckland Council manager of cemeteries Catherine Moore says they are looking at two potential solutions as Waikumete can't be extended any further.

"The rest of Waikumete Cemetery has a significant ecological area overlay under the Auckland Unitary Plan, however we could apply for a resource consent to develop some of this area.

"Alternatively, we could look to find other suitable land to develop another cemetery elsewhere in Auckland," Moore says.

She adds council is exploring similar options for the other three cemeteries also struggling with capacity.