The Karori Cemetery occupies 40 hectares on the Western Hills between the Suburb of Karori and the historic Otari Wilton Bush. The Cemetery is readily reached by car, less than 10 minutes from city, and by a No 2 bus that stops across the road from the Cemetery’s main entrance. The roads through the cemetery are all sealed although they are narrow in places and there are no areas that cannot be reached by car.
There are three gates into the Karori Cemetery – the main gate off the Old Karori Road, and two side gates one off Standen Street and one off Seaforth Terrace. The main gate is open 7 days at 7.30 am and closed at 5.30pm April to September, and 8.30pm October to March. The side gates have a similar schedule except they are closed during the weekends.
The main gate gives immediate access to the WCC Cemetery office where detailed records on all burials are kept, and where staff can access these files for visitors seeking to find graves. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 4.30pm.
The Friends of Karori Cemetery are based at the Shelter, an historic building near the centre of the Cemetery, and we open the first Sunday afternoon of each month – see our Facebook page for Shelter opening arrangements and guided tour schedules.
Karori Cemetery contains the graves of about 83,000 people. The cemetery was established in 1891 to replace the overcrowded Bolton Street Cemetery. By the 1950s the cemetery had reached capacity, and new burials were transferred to Makara Cemetery. The only plots available now at Karori Cemetery are pre-purchased ash or family plots, and children’s plots. The cemetery contains heritage buildings, the graves of numerous interesting New Zealanders including 6 Prime Ministers, and a range of interesting trails and commemorations including especially the Penguin Shipwreck trail, the World War Warriors walk and the monument to those killed in the Tangiwai disaster.
There are many walks of varying difficulty in the cemetery, and at the northern boundary there are several connections (and plenty of parking) to the numerous tracks that give access to Johnston Hill, the skyline, and Wilton Otari Bush.
First time visitors to the Cemetery will find a map useful. Here are links to the WCC map of the Cemetery, and to a number of maps the Friends have created showing the location of some of the cemetery’s main features.
A link to the WCC map.