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May 10, 2010 | by  | in News |
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A Grave Matter

Grave robbers!

You would think that people wouldn’t have to be asked not to swipe things from cemeteries, but it appears this is not the case.

The Friends of the Mount Street Cemetery are searching for some headstones and monuments that have disappeared.

Lots of the graves have been broken through neglect or vandalism, and it appears that many ornaments may have been swiped as trophies.

“The cemetery has been neglected for many years, so we don’t assume they have all been moved or taken recently,” says Karen Adair, a member of the Friends Group.

The cemetery, which runs alongside the university, was opened in the 1850s and used up until the 1950s, and has been left to “get into a bit of a state,” says Adair.

“Part of restoring the cemetery is trying to locate the lost, broken and relocated headstones.”

One piece definitely has been moved recently.

The Friends found part of a Celtic cross (as pictured) under trees and leaves on what turned out to be a lost grave. The cross was moved into the surrounds of another grave as it was a tripping hazard, but now it has disappeared.

“We have heard of flats taking trophies over the years. There are probably many pieces in gardens around Wellington.

“We didn’t even know this grave was there until we found it in some old pictures, with this cross disappearing, there is nothing left to mark this grave.”

Over the years the cemetery has been the site of a few non-traditional uses. A popular yet dangerous mountain biking track is one thing that the Friends would like to see stopped.

“This is a heritage site, and while we don’t want to stop people using the cemetery recreationally, mountain biking in a cemetery isn’t safe.

“In the 70s people opened up the vault and used to smoke in there. Not the most respectful use of the cemetery!”

The vault has since been concreted shut, just in case anyone has any ideas.

Anyone who has, or thinks they might have something from a cemetery can return the pieces. There is no penalty, or reward, just fewer creepy monuments bringing bad karma to the flat. Contact news@salient.org.nz for details on how to return the pieces.

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