On February 17, Our Chair Tim Duguid and committee member Lakshman Abeynaike attended the opening and dedication of the new St Johns Lounge at Purewa Cemetery. Also in attendance were Orakei Local Board reps and our Ward Councillor Desley Simpson.
Even on a rainy day, the lounge is a wonderfully light and attractive place, opening out to a wide veranda and surrounded by the trees and reserve.
Purewa Cemetery Trust Board chair John Priestley gave a talk in which he acknowledged the Residents Association and our appreciation of Purewa’s unique location within the community and special value as a place, not least the tree-lined driveway (which has been rezoned for housing under the Unitary Plan).
In dedicating the building, Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay spoke of Purewa’s history back to Bishop Selwyn 130 years ago, and the Trust Board’s stewardship of Purewa for the last 80 years.
In giving it their blessing, the Ngati Whatua o Orakei kaumatua Bob Hawke noted with good humour that while the valley has been properly known for generations as “Pourewa”, everyone now refers to the cemetery as “Purewa”.
After the speeches, we all processed round the building as the bishops and kaumatua offered mihi / prayers for all the activities that will take place there in the future.
In terms of business, we’re working with the Trust Board to hold our April meeting in the St Johns Lounge, with John Priestley joining us to talk about developments. We hope to confirm that soon. The Trust Board also look forward to working with us on another open day, following on from last year’s popular and successful event.