An Auckland woman says she hoped her aunty was at rest after she lost her battle with cancer.

But the woman, who did not want to be named, says it appears that both her family and her aunty's battle for peace is set to continue as hers and "hundreds" of other gravesites at Manukau Memorial Gardens continue to sink.

It's leaving many families horrified and some are even turning up with trailer loads of their own dirt to cover up their loved one's plot.

Some have aired their frustration on Facebook, with one post in particular being widely shared over the past 24 hours alerting people to the development.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
Thousands attend funeral for terror attack victim Imam Hafiz Musa Patel in Auckland
Auckland Council investigation fails to determine who desecrated Papakura burial site
'Have respect for a kid's grave': Baby's grave vandalised at Manukau cemetery
170 children's plots damaged at Manukau cemetery

However, Auckland Council says the subsidence is perfectly normal and is expected to occur as graves settle, particularly newer ones.

The Auckland woman said the damage to her aunty's plot wasn't as bad as others but had increased overnight after she checked it about 6pm on Sunday.

When her cousins went to check on their mother about 10am today, her plot had sunken even further, leaving an outline clearly visible. While the woman believed it was the side of the casket she could see, a council spokesperson said it was likely the edges of the hole dug by cemetery staff to lay the casket inside.

The grave site pictured on Sunday evening. However, it had slumped even further by Monday morning. Photo / Supplied
The grave site pictured on Sunday evening. However, it had slumped even further by Monday morning. Photo / Supplied

"It's not nice to see. People pay thousands of dollars for these plots, you're talking $7000 a plot and you're burying your loved one there. What's going on? The [council] aren't looking after and respecting them."

She said her aunt passed away in January but every time they had visited they had noticed the plot appeared to be sinking, and new soil on top.

She said it was "heartbreaking".

"To me it's like, my aunt, she battled cancer ... she battled for years with it and we thought 'oh she's finally at peace', put her down and then to go there it's just like she's not at rest, she's not laying right.

Advertisement

"It's heartbreaking to look at the plot like that."

The woman had called and complained to the council, which put it down to the recent bout of wet weather. However the woman believed that could not be true.

The slump in the dirt is evident in this photo shown at the headstone end of the grave site at the Manukau Memorial Gardens. Photo / Supplied
The slump in the dirt is evident in this photo shown at the headstone end of the grave site at the Manukau Memorial Gardens. Photo / Supplied

"I called them up this morning about it and they've been apologising but I've just been told that they're putting more soil on it.

"But is this going to be the case every time that it rains, that we turn up to the cemetery and might see her coffin sitting there?"

She said the region had been going through record low rainfall so the reasoning for wet weather can't be true.

"We're going through a drought and this has been happening for months now, people have been having issues with those plots sinking.

The plot of the Auckland woman's aunt pictured at 10am on Monday. It had dropped even further after the woman visited the site on Sunday evening. Photo / Supplied
The plot of the Auckland woman's aunt pictured at 10am on Monday. It had dropped even further after the woman visited the site on Sunday evening. Photo / Supplied

"We had a whole dry period and the rain has only come in the last week so it's not that. And chucking soil on it isn't going to help the situation, so what's going on?"

She felt sorry for other families after noticing some caskets left exposed.

"My aunt's isn't as bad as the other ones that are there. There are families out there who are pouring their own soil on and filling it themselves but there are others who haven't been there and probably don't know what's going on."

"The plots on the left and side, when I say they're sinking you can see the size of the caskets.

Auckland Council cemetery services manager Nikki Marchant-Ludlow apologised for the distress it may have caused people and disputed that some caskets were left exposed.

However, she wanted to reassure anyone who had seen this sinking that nothing had gone wrong with the burial.

She said the natural sinking was accommodated for by mounding the soil, but that it may not meet the exact level needed every time, especially if there was heavy rainfall.

The graves at Manukau were in the process of being topped up at appropriate levels by the council's maintenance team and would continue to be monitored.

Anyone who noticed the sinking should contact the cemetery directly so it could rectify it as soon as possible, she said.