The 170 square metre architecturally designed project has a brick and cedar exterior which blends well with the surrounding buildings, especially the two-year-old St John’s Lounge for after-funeral catering.
Inside, the high-ceilinged atrium-like entrance has been designed with plenty of windows to allow maximum natural light. A feature is a wooden ceiling which is dual purpose – providing excellent acoustics and an attractive natural timber patterned effect.
Separate offices and meeting rooms provide more space and privacy for staff and visitors. A special feature is a family quiet room where grieving families including the parents of stillborn and new-born babies can meet staff in private. Local eastern suburbs funeral directors, State of Grace East, have taken particular interest in the room and are helping Purewa set it up and furnish it appropriately.
Architect and Board member, John Bukowski, was responsible for the overall design working with architectural firm Babbage and Co and builders N. Cole.
The Chairman of the Purewa Cemetery Trust Board, John Priestley, said the new building reflected the Trust Board’s determination that Purewa remained a leader with its facilities and customer service.
“Societal and demographic changes present huge challenges for the funeral industry. This building, and the space and the atmosphere of Purewa will continue to meet the many different needs of bereaved families,” he said.
Alastair Crombie, Purewa General Manager, said one of the special features of the building was how well and sensitively it fitted into the natural landscape and related to other buildings nearby.
“Both functionally and aesthetically it’s a superb building to work in and our five staff are appreciating the extra space making their jobs easier and providing a more comfortable and personal environment for visitors,” he says.
2019 marks 130 years since Purewa was established as a cemetery by the Anglican Church in Auckland, after a request in 1886 by Bishop Cowie for land closer to the developing Auckland than Waikumete in the west.
The cemetery opened in early January 1889 and the first burial was of an infant aged 15 months whose address was given as Surrey Hills Ponsonby. Since then more than 55,000 men, women and children have been laid to rest at Purewa.