Mangapouri Cemetery, New Plymouth

Patrick Corfe Landscape Architects Ltd has been working with New Plymouth District Council since 2007 to plan and design a new district cemetery. The planning process has included reviewing alternative sites, assessing reverse sensitivity and traffic management issues. Mangapouri Cemetery is named after a small stream central to the land. The site borders Waiwakaiho River and hydrology is a key factor in defining burial limits. New Plymouth District Council is keen to optimise burial capacity and the new cemetery lifespan as well as offer a comprehensive range of commemorative options.

An attractive characteristic of this cemetery is its access to views of some of Taranaki’s more prominent landmarks – views of Mt Taranaki and its ranges, the Mangamahoe Hilltop and the Waiwhakaiho River. An objective for the new district cemetery is to retain these views as a strong link out into the local landscape. With this in mind, the view shafts to these features were also a critical factor in determining the cemetery layout. Dense plantings and widespread amenity trees will be laid out in such a way that ‘windows’ are created that framed and directed views from the cemetery and provided a balance between these expansive views and a sense of discovery and intimacy.

The selected site was primarily in plantation forestry and alongside its watercourses the site has a challenging topography with both flooding and lahar hazard areas. The local rural landscape is dominated by the outlook towards Mt Taranaki (2415m ASL) to the south west and Mangamahoe Hill (220m ASL) to the north. The cemetery site adjoins the working exotic plantation and Lake Mangamahoe Park and borders SH3.

The Mangapouri Cemetery is a short distance from Taranaki Crematorium Chapel and also upstream from the New Plymouth Town water supply intake. The design intends to include more conventional burial areas and natural burial with several options for ash commemoration. There will be a focus on sustainability and ecological values offering both manicured parkland and wilderness riparian habitat. Visitors will be able to celebrate the regions geography and be uplifted by its strong landscape features. They will also be able to immerse themselves in a varied natural topography which has its own strong sense of identity.