When Amy Carter attends a burial at Kauae Cemetery, she makes sure to check on her whanau headstones too.

She normally finds them clean and tidy, just as she last left them, but this month her parents' plot was dramatically different.

"What's happened here? My God, there's a big hole!" She said.

Rotorua sisters Amy Carter and Linda Uluave beside their family plots in Kauae Cemetery. Photo/Stephen Parker
Rotorua sisters Amy Carter and Linda Uluave beside their family plots in Kauae Cemetery. Photo/Stephen Parker

Her parents' grave is one of "about 70" at Kauae and Rotorua cemeteries that has sunk as a result of torrential rain on April 29, according to the Rotorua Lakes Council.

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Carter contacted the council immediately after discovering her parents', grandparents' and aunt's graves were all sinking.

"We are not complaining, it's just sad," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.

"The council has been very, very helpful. We just want them to hurry up because if we have another heavy rain the graves might open up. Who knows? I would expect it to get worse with the rains we are getting. We just want to make sure there is no more damage."

Carter's sister Linda Uluave said most of the whānau were buried next to the sisters' uncle Sir Howard Morrison, and the headstones cost about $4500 each.

"They might be dead but we still love them a lot and we like to take care of the graves," she said.

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15 May, 2018 10:32am
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"We just hope our kids will do the same for us," Carter added.

The sisters estimated the worst hole in their parents' grave was about 75cm deep, where the soil had cracked and separated.

"You know I'd hate for a kid to fall in, they'd be really traumatised," Uluave said.

"We come here a lot after tangi. It's all about whakapapa here, it helps the kids understand it."