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Handy hints for headstones at Te Waimate Show

Are you feeling concerned at the state of a family member’s headstone – but aren’t too sure what to do about it?

Help is at hand at this year’s Bay of Islands A&P Show (Te Waimate Showgrounds) on Saturday November 11.

Staff from the Northland office of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will be present at the show with a display entitled ‘Cemeteries and Cyphers’ – including a section offering handy hints to people wanting to spruce up the graves of loved ones without causing any damage to the grave or headstone.

And for the really keen, Heritage New Zealand will have a Te Waimate Show Special on hand containing everything needed to maintain a headstone – including a container of conservation grade detergent, a soft brush, gloves and instructions on the best way to approach cleaning a memorial stone.

A special paste for cleaning and protecing metal plaques, including brass, will also be available.

“Cemeteries are like open-air museums with their headstones serving as a record of our culture and social history, as well as extremely important family history,” says Northland Manager Bill Edwards.

“They are an irreplaceable and important record of the social history of the area and community. They also reflect changes in society. Maintaining and preserving individual headstones is an important ‘first line of defence’ in terms of conserving these places and their history.

“We want to be able to provide people with good information about looking after headstones, and some of the best materials that can be used.”

The display will also highlight and explain some of the symbolism found on headstones at the St James Anglican Churchyard and Te Waimate Cemeterey – two of the earliest consecrated cemeteries in the country.

Check out Cemetries and Cyphers at Site 93.


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