A Rotorua widow whose husband's ashes are scattered on the Springfield golf course has reignited debate over its future development - despite the council putting the plans on ice earlier this year.
Danielle Maguire told the Rotorua Daily Post she is not alone in her plight - other families are also "distraught" as they had sprinkled ashes on the course at the request of their loved ones.
The golf course was aware of the ritual, which had spiritual significance to those who had carried out the last wishes in the belief the ashes ''would be here forever''.
Danielle said when David Maguire received the devastating news of his brain cancer diagnosis, he knew the three places he wanted his ashes spread.
A beach in Noumea, his best friend's garden and the first tee of the Springfield course, where he had played for close to 25 years and spent many peaceful days towards the end of his life.
Now his family is rallying to ensure the Rotorua Lakes Council's proposed plans to take back the land and disestablish the golf course are stopped.
In March, the Rotorua Lakes Council announced the proposal of a sport and recreation precinct and a residential housing development in Westbrook.
The Springfield golf course, Rotorua International Stadium, Westbrook Reserve and netball courts, Ray Boord Park and Smallbone Park would all be incorporated.
However, in May the council announced that the plans for the precinct would be delayed until 2024 to be considered for the next long-term plan due to Covid-19.
The golf course had also been highlighted in the council's 2018 spatial plan as a potential area for growth, especially for housing.
Residents and members across the city joined in collective opposition to these plans.
A Facebook group called Saving Springfield Golf Course had already garnered close to 650 members and two different petitions were sitting at a local dairy and the club itself.
"David would be absolutely furious ... that club and his golf were his life," David's wife Danielle Maguire said.
He had fought a hard fight with his cancer and died aged 48, leaving behind two daughters and his wife.
A ceremony was held at the Springfield Golf Club on a bluebird day in September 2014.
Going to the golf club even now was extremely hard on Danielle, but she said she ''would do anything to save it for him''.
"I broke down in tears when I heard the plans ... how dare they do that to the resting place for our loved ones."
The pair met in Noumea back in the 1980s and moved to Rotorua in 1990 when Danielle was pregnant with their first daughter.
He had joined the golf club right away, getting involved in tournaments and soon becoming the club's chairman.
"You would never see David without his golf bag," Danielle said.
He also played a huge role in the training of professional golfer Danny Lee, who had been a member of the club.
"I had so many golf lessons, every Mother's Day I'd get a new voucher for lessons. He had hoped we could play golf together when we retired," she said.
"It wasn't my cup of tea," she said through a laugh.
He knew his time was coming to an end when he went down to the course and he could no longer hit the ball.
"It was absolutely devastating for him."
David had wanted his ashes scattered on the course as it was his "place of peace".
Maguire was not alone in her concern for her loved one's ashes on the course.
She said she had received messages from others who had spread their loved ones' ashes there who were "distraught" at the idea of the course being "destroyed".
Rotorua Lakes Council's operations manager Jocelyn Mikaere said while engagement and consultation were undertaken earlier this year, the concept for the precinct was still in the proposal stage and no final decisions had been made.
She said they were still investigating and planning the concept and were working with the sports community to ensure the development of a master plan that best fitted their needs.
This would put the plan in its best position to be considered for future long-term planning, she said.
Springfield Golf Club president Paul Fox said he was aware of a number of people spreading the ashes of their loved ones on the course.
"They spread them thinking they will be there forever and their spirits do remain there ... it would be wrong to take that away from people."
There were already hundreds of signatures from upset residents and members on the petitions, he said.
Richard Fullard from Osbornes Funeral Directors said local beaches, walking tracks and golf courses were common places for ashes to be spread.
"Families often choose a place that reflects the life of their loved one where they best see fit ... it is a place they can visit for years to come."
People hoping to spread ashes at a certain place should do it under acknowledgment from the person who owns the land, he said.
"I really feel for those families caught up in this."
Te Arawa kaumātua Sir Toby Curtis said he would expect cultural rituals such as blessing the site to be done when scattering ashes in public places and it would not be right to build on the land without this being carried out.
What are people doing with ashes in 2020?
Richard Fullard from Osbornes Funeral Directors said as technology continued to improve, the ways people were scattering and preserving ashes had changed.
Gone were the days of the standard wooden urn on the top of the cabinet. Nowadays, people were putting ashes in jewellery, teddy bears and other objects - and even sending them to space.
"Families often choose to do something that best fits the deceased ... it's becoming more personal."
Getting ashes put into ink and tattooed on a person or made into diamonds were ones Fullard had heard of but not provided as a service himself yet, he said.
Ashes have become more of a keepsake and new ways were helping with the grieving process for many, he said.
On the other side of the coin, some families either chose or simply forgot to pick up their loved one's ashes.
Osbornes had more than a dozen lots of ashes still sitting at the home, with the oldest dating back to the 1990s.
"We keep them as a courtesy thing and follow up with the family pretty regularly. Sometimes it can be a case of not wanting to face it or one family member thinking the other had picked them up."
He said he had received calls 10 years later from people asking if they still had a person's ashes after realising maybe Granddad or Grandma forgot to pick them up.
"If the next of kin has also passed we keep them here just in case ... the ashes all get a good morning from me every day as I walk past."
It was up to every individual family to do what they wanted to do, he said.
He had not heard of any locals doing cremations themselves on private land, although it was common overseas, he said.
Kathy Sleep from Tauranga's Hope Family Funeral Services said they aimed to explore any ideas a family may have for their loved one's ashes.
From teddy bears to necklaces and even scented candles, the way people could preserve ashes had changed drastically over the years.
"We listen to what people want."
She said a woman had once come in who had lost her husband and she had been sleeping with his ashes but had been getting quite a sore arm from the weight of it.
"I suggested putting the ashes into a soft toy, which she liked the idea of."
She came back a week later saying her husband would have a "fit" if he knew that he'd been put in a toy so she asked to have him put in a tube to scatter.
"Grief is so different for everyone ... People have different ways of coming to terms with a death."
On another occasion, they had spread ashes throughout a number of small tubes to be "keepsakes" for each family member, while another time a woman's ashes were put in separate teddy bears for her niece and nephews.
She said they had also explored the options of putting ashes underneath scented candles or getting them made into paperweights.
"I am always hearing people saying they didn't think they could do that when it comes to ashes."