Prime Ministers

There are six New Zealand Prime Minsters interred at Karori Cemetery.

The most noted is Peter Fraser, who was Prime Minister 1940-1949. He was elected following the death of Michael Joseph Savage in 1940, and served for 9 years, 257 days

Fraser is one of the few NZ Prime Ministers deemed sufficiently worthy to have a national memorial dedicated to them. The others are Massey (Massey Memorial, Wellington), Savage (Bastion Point, Auckland), Kirk (Waimate), and Seddon (Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington). Their monuments are the property of and maintained by the Ministry of Heritage & Culture.

Fraser’s memorial is comparatively small and discreet, and clearly designed by the Ministry of Works.  It is unclear how decisions were/are made about which Prime Ministers are deemed to be sufficiently important to qualify for a national monument.

Peter Fraser

The other Prime Ministers interred at Karori are:

Sir Harry AtkinsonPremier for various periods between 1883 and 1891, alternating with Sir Robert Stout. Sir Harry’s grave is 6 plots away from the Underwood vault.

Harry Atkinson

Sir Robert Stout – Premier for various periods between 1883 and 1891, alternating with Sir Harry Atkinson. Sir Robert was cremated and his ashes are interred in a niche in the Crematorium Chapel.

Sir William Hall-Jones –. Hall-Jones was PM for 47 days, from 21 June – 6 Aug 1906 following the unexpected death of Richard Seddon. He was the first to be called Prime Minister rather than Premier. Sir William is interred in a family plot situated on the bank on the junction leading to the Fraser memorial.

Sir Francis Dillon Bell – caretaker PM following death of Massey for 17 days from 14 May – 30 May 1925. Sir Francis was the first NZ born Prime Minister. The Bell family plot is on the walkway opposite the Bradley monument, on the left-hand side when approaching from the road, slightly elevated.

Sir Walter Nash – Prime Minster 1957-1960. Sir Walter’s ashes plot is alongside the main road (left hand side if travelling from main gate) opposite the columbarium wall downhill from the crematorium. It is easy to miss!

Walter Nash

Full biographies of each of these men are available online at

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