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Makaraka (Houhoupiko) Cemetery, Gisborne
New Zealand

Makaraka or Houhoupiko Cemetery was Gisborne’s first main public cemetery. The land was bought in 1857 from Maori owners and the first burial was that of T. Uren’s in 1860. Houhoupiko is the stream that crosses the land into Taruheru River. The cemetery is historically significant with most of the area’s European pioneers and many local Maori families buried here. It is home to three memorials – to those killed in the 1868 Te Kooti incident; to those killed in action and other privates of the Hawkes Bay Military Settlers, November 1865 at Waerenga-a-hika; and those who died in the 1897 Tasmania shipwreck.
In 1916, the year after the current Taruheru cemetery opened, Makaraka cemetery was closed to burials, except for the immediate family of those already buried there. The cemetery was not full. The cemetery was closed because the regular high water table caused some grave structures to subside and concrete to break. But burials continued, mostly in plots already reserved. Some new plots were bought, largely outside of the law.

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Researching the stories of those buried in Makaraka Cemetery

Through Papers Past, Ancestry, publications and records, and family records, sketches of the lives of some of the people buried in Makaraka Cemetery are being assembled.
Progress to date will be uploaded to this website regularly, and you are welcomed to contribute to these brief notes, or add new information about other people.
All contributions will be appreciated and images of people are especially welcome.
Please could you send information through the "Contact" page below.

Contact Makaraka (Houhoupiko) Cemetery, Gisborne New Zealand

Main Road, Makaraka


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