‘Simple, beautiful’: Natural burials offer alternative to traditional cemetery

Long Lunch 25/07/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

You can give back to the environment even after your death – at least with one burial service.

“Natural burial” sites have been established across the country, where people can choose to return their body to the earth in a natural environment.

Natural Burials director Mark Blackham began the concept in 1999 after realising there were no natural burial cemeteries outside of the UK. The not-for-profit aims to encourage local councils on how to establish natural burial cemeteries across the country.

While still zoned as a cemetery, a natural burial site puts people back into the earth without any chemicals or embalming. Native tree or shrub is placed over the site, which can be engraved to mark the plot.

“In New Zealand, a lot of people think something beautiful is simply, and natural, and in the bush. And that’s sort of where it started,” he told RadioLIVE.

A burial service doesn’t necessarily have to be in rows of concrete, Mr Blackham explained. Natural Burials simply aims to provide people with that choice.  

The organisation has facilitated over a dozen natural burial sites across the North and South Island since it launched its first site in 2002.

“There are a lot of people who love the idea and want the choice to be available to them. And that keeps us going.” 

Listen to the full interview with Mark Blackham above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.