Auckland Council is investigating after a woman who visited Papakura Cemetery discovered the children's burial site had been desecrated.

Last Saturday at 12pm, Papakura resident Korenna Buchanan went to the cemetery with her son to place flowers on a relative's grave.

But as the visitors reached the baby section, they were shocked to find damaged mementos, shredded flowers and broken crosses strewn across the grass.

Buchanan told the Herald she shared photos of the desecration on a local Facebook page so others would be aware of the state the cemetery was left in.

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As the visitors reached the baby section, they were shocked to find damaged momentoes, shredded flowers and broken crosses were strewn across the grass. Photo / Korenna Buchanan
As the visitors reached the baby section, they were shocked to find damaged momentoes, shredded flowers and broken crosses were strewn across the grass. Photo / Korenna Buchanan

"These are people's loved ones, especially babies ... I thought how absolutely devastating it would be for families seeing it like this.

"I couldn't stay, because it was really upsetting seeing them like that."

Buchanan believes that the Auckland Council maintenance crew had left the mess behind as the grass was freshly mown and she found shredded flowers under grass clippings.

However, Auckland Council believes it was vandalism.

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Buchanan said, "I know that in the past there have been incidents of vandalism where it was reported that a lady smashed up headstones .. but this seems different to that.

"To me, it didn't seem like somebody intentionally had done that.

"I know mistakes happen, but they could have at least gone back and picked things up.

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"Those are tokens of love and things left by their loved ones, just to be left like that."

She also added that the cost of burying people was astronomical.

Buchanan believes that the Auckland Council maintenance crew had left the mess behind as the grass was freshly mowed and she found shredded flowers under grass clippings. Photo / Korenna Buchanan
Buchanan believes that the Auckland Council maintenance crew had left the mess behind as the grass was freshly mowed and she found shredded flowers under grass clippings. Photo / Korenna Buchanan

"Not only are you paying for the plot where you're placing them, but you're also paying for the maintenance ... and to see them totally disregard the graves and the mementos left there, it was just absolutely disgusting, to be honest."

In a statement to the Herald, Auckland Council Head of Operational Management and Maintenance Agnes McCormack said Council was saddened to hear the report of damage to the children's burial site and they are currently working to get in touch with the families affected.

"We were made aware of this issue on Saturday and are now carrying out an investigation into this matter, which includes ascertaining when our contractors were last at the cemetery. This is an ongoing investigation and we cannot yet confirm if this was an act of vandalism," she said.

The Auckland Council have launched an investigation after a woman who visited Papakura Cemetery was upset to discover the children's burial site had been desecrated. Photo / Korenna Buchanan
The Auckland Council have launched an investigation after a woman who visited Papakura Cemetery was upset to discover the children's burial site had been desecrated. Photo / Korenna Buchanan

"Cemeteries are open, public places and should be respected as a space for quiet reflection and for people to remember their loved ones. We appreciate that this will be distressing for families and extend our heartfelt sympathies to those affected.

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"We take any disturbances at our cemeteries extremely seriously and encourage anyone with information on this matter to contact the council on 09 301 0101 or Police."

Today, Buchanan said she witnessed Auckland Council workers picking up bits and pieces from the burial site.