Paeroa's Pukerimu Cemetery is being future proofed
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Posted November 07, 2019
History / Arts / Culture
Heavy equipment is on site creating a new section to ensure there is room for future generations at Paeroa’s Pukerimu Cemetery.
Kaumatua Rawiri Kauae Te Toki performed a whakanoa ceremony, which removes the tapu, before the work began.
Pukerimu has provided a ‘sleeping place’ for many generations after being established prior to 1855.
The new section will sit at the base of the current cemetery, on land long earmarked for this purpose.
Concrete berms for casket and ashes plots should be completed by this Christmas.
Drainage work and improved access for the internal road will also be done before Stage 2 next year, which will include planting and landscaping.
Steve Wilkinson is a frequent visitor to the Pukerimu Cemetery. Born and bred in Paeroa but now living in Hamilton, he said Pukerimu will always hold a special place in his heart. “As a large family, our whānau are scattered all over NZ, but Pukerimu brings us back to our roots in Paeroa. It’s always been a place of solace, of remembrance and of love.
Gold FM announcers Brian, Josh Gentil and the rest of the Gentil whanau also have close connections to the Paeroa Cemetery. Brian’s great grandparents (Josh’s great great grandparents) Charles and Annie Gentil, who lived close by for many years, are buried in the cemetery. Brian’s great grandfather worked for the Ohinemuri County for over 30 years and held the positions of Abattoir Manager, Pound Keeper and Cemetery Caretaker between 1903 - 1933.
The excerpt below is from the Ohinemuri Journal and shows Charles Gentil’s association with Paeroa Cemetery and Magazine.
In May, 1902, Mr. F. Beattie was appointed caretaker of the cemetery and magazine keeper and resigned in August, 1903, when Mr. C. B. Gentil was given the positions. Mr. Gentil carried out these duties for 30 years, when, on account of the abattoirs, of which Mr. Gentil was manager, having been transferred to the Paeroa Borough Council, the Council reluctantly agreed that the services of Mr. Gentil were not then required and his employment terminated on September 30, 1933. The work of the cemetery and magazine has been added to the duties of the county clerk. Mr. Gentil was one of the oldest and most respected servants of the Council and had given excellent service for over 30 years. His work was always a model of neatness and accuracy. He died on December 1, 1935.
Photos: Brian Gentil visiting his great grandparents grave at Pukerimu Cemetery, Paeroa. The grave of Charles and Annie Gentil.