Seventy graves at Kauae and Rotorua cemeteries have sunk by up to 30cm after recent severe flooding in the district caused subsidence.

Sport and recreation manager Rob Pitkethley confirmed to the Rotorua Daily Post council staff have been "filling them [the graves] with soil and levelling them before grass seeding" for the past two weeks.

"What's evident is that subsidence damage caused by the recently severe weather is more apparent as our staff have reported that some graves have subsided by between 10 and 30cm. This is not only upsetting for families visiting their loved ones but also poses a safety risk to them and other visitors who could trip in a dip in the ground."

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Councillor Trevor Maxwell has been a Kauae Cemetery Trust Board member for more than 20 years.

He said he had been told the effects of the flood were minor at the cemetery.

"I hope there isn't too much of a problem with the water tables."

Rotorua district councillor and cultural ambassador Trevor Maxwell. Photo / File
Rotorua district councillor and cultural ambassador Trevor Maxwell. Photo / File

Maxwell said the board met two to three times a year, and the last meeting was more than a month ago.

Pitkethley said it would be at least another week before the repairs were complete.

"However, it will take a bit more time before the grass seedlings grow and the damage is no longer evident. We encourage any relatives whose loved ones' graves have been affected to contact council on (07) 348 4199 so we can answer your questions."

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According to the Rotorua Lakes Council website, the council manages the cemetery for the Kauae Cemetery Trust.

The board is made up of members from the council and Ngāti Whakaue who are appointed by the Māori Land Court.

The land on Ngongotahā Rd was originally a Ngāti Whakaue burial ground before it became a public cemetery in 1924.

The council website also said Rotorua Cemetery on Sala St was used for burials in the 1800s.

Some of the victims of the 1886 Tarawera eruption are buried here, as well as some early transfers from an even older burial ground on the eastern side of Sala St.