Cemeteries and cremation

Photo shows rows of gravestones in Palmerston North's main city cemetery.

Council manages four cemeteries in Palmerston North, all with historical significance. Kelvin Grove Cemetery is the main cemetery for the city.

The crematorium and book of memories room at Kelvin Grove Cemetery are open to the public.

The cemetery office is open to the public 9am to 3pm.

All our cemeteries are available for interments from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to noon on Saturday.

Cremations are only available at Kelvin Grove Cemetery. There are no cremations or burials on Sundays or public holidays.

Kelvin Grove, Terrace End and Ashhurst cemeteries are open to visit seven days a week.

  • 8am to 8pm in summer (daylight saving hours)
  • 8am to 6pm the rest of the year

If you have any queries, please call the cemeteries supervisor on 027 4442 053 or the cemetery clerk on 06 358 5445

Burial and cremation records

Use our online cemetery and cremation search tool to look up Council records for the Ashhurst, Kelvin Grove and Terrace End cemeteries. Our records date back to 1871.

Do you have questions?

We understand that navigating the final resting place of your loved ones can raise many queries, and we are here to offer support.

This section is designed to help you with some common questions we often receive. Our cemetery staff are always happy to answer any other questions.

Cemetery fees can be found on our website

You can find the current fee details on the fees and charges page.

We work with your funeral director to take care of your requests

Once you've made your choice between burial and cremation, simply inform your funeral director of your decision. They will work with us to ensure all your needs are taken care.

You can decorate plots in specific areas of the cemetery

Certain areas within the cemetery allow for personal decorations on your loved one's grave. It's essential to make this decision before selecting a plot. You can learn more and fill out the application form(PDF, 1MB).

We can help you arrange a flowerpot holder

A flowerpot holder can be easily arranged through our stonemason/monumental mason. You can chat to our friendly cemetery staff if you would like to arrange this.

You can choose to inter ashes into a burial or ashes plot

You have the option to inter ashes into either a burial or ashes plot. Feel free to reach out to our friendly cemetery staff for more information.

Adjacent plots can be purchased at the same time

If you wish to reserve the adjacent plot for another loved one, you can secure it by purchasing it at the same time.

Plots can be pre-purchased if you already have family buried at the cemetery

If your family members are already resting in the cemetery, we offer an option to pre-purchase plots so you or your family can rest in proximity. Our cemetery staff can guide you through the pre-purchase process and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Your funeral director will collect your loved one’s ashes

Your funeral director will usually take care of gathering your loved one's remains.

We work with you when choosing a plot location

Once you've chosen the area in the cemetery you'd like your loved one to rest, we can offer you a selection of available plots in that area. If you prefer, we can also assist in choosing a suitable plot for you.

One burial plot can usually be used for two burials

In most cases, one burial plot can accommodate two burials. Additionally, an ash plot has the capacity to hold up to four standard-sized urns. Please speak to our helpful cemetery staff for more information or to arrange this.

There is a limit to the dimensions of headstones

The size of headstones have certain limits to keep in mind. You can find the specifications for headstones on our various plots by checking page two of the memorial consent application form(PDF, 100KB) .

Your loved one’s ashes can be scattered in designated areas of the cemetery

Within our cemeteries, we have designated locations for scattering your loved one's ashes. Our friendly cemetery staff will be happy to assist you in finding these areas.

It’s possible to bury your loved one in the Veterans area if their spouse is already interred there

It’s possible to inter your loved one alongside their spouse, even if they are buried in the Veterans area. This option is available to ensure loved ones can rest together. For details on internment regulations and to confirm eligibility, please visit the Veterans Affairs NZ website.

The chapel can be hired for your funeral service

You have the option to rent our chapel for your funeral service, which can seat up to 120 people. You can find the hire fees on the fees document(PDF, 129KB).

The Children’s Lawn is designated for children up to 13 years old

Parents or family members can have ashes interred in an existing plot within the children's area. A Sands (pregnancy, baby and infant loss support) area is also provided at Kelvin Grove Cemetery, and you can apply for a memorial plaque in this section by filling out this form(PDF, 57KB) .

You can use our cemetery search tool to locate the gravesites of your loved ones

You can find where your loved ones are buried using the cemetery search tool on our website. The tool will reveal the exact section, block and plot number your loved ones are buried in. You can use the search tool for free.

You can bury your loved one’s ashes when you’re ready

You have the flexibility to intern your loved one's ashes in the plot you've purchased at your own pace.

Chat to us if you’d like to plant your loved one’s grave

If your loved one was buried in an ash burial, there are some areas where it may be possible to plant something on their grave. Speak with our friendly cemetery staff for more information or fill out the application form(PDF, 1MB).

Our cemetery is a dog-free area

To maintain a peaceful and respectful environment for all visitors and to ensure the solemnity of each site, our cemeteries are dog-free areas.

We regularly maintain graves

It's common for graves to naturally settle after backfilling, so we keep a close eye on these and do maintenance work when required. We also regularly maintain undecorated graves. If your loved one’s grave requires any special care or attention, please get in touch with our helpful cemetery staff.

Ashhurst Cemetery

Ashhurst Domain, Napier Road (SH3), Ashhurst

Ashhurst Cemetery is located within the Ashhurst Domain adjacent to the camping ground. An area for services is located towards the eastern end.

Bunnythorpe Cemetery

51 Maple Street, Bunnythorpe

Bunnythorpe Community Cemetery was operated by a Trust until 2014, when responsibility was transferred to Palmerston North City Council. Burials here date back to 1900.

Bunnythorpe Cemetery map(PDF, 294KB)

Kelvin Grove Cemetery

118 James Line, Kelvin Grove, Palmerston North

Kelvin Grove Cemetery is Palmerston North's main cemetery, providing cremation and burial services to the city and its surrounding districts. It is set on 36 hectares of land, 7km from the central business district. It has a chapel that can be hired for memorial and committal services and a memorial garden.

The cemetery was opened in 1927 to replace the old Terrace End Cemetery on Napier Road. The crematorium and chapel were added in 1954. A modern gas-fired cremator was installed in 2003. 

The cemetery performs about 180 burials and 400 cremations each year.

A Book of Memories is kept on display at the crematorium chapel. Entry into the book must be requested at the time of cremation. Commemoration plaques are available for ashes plots.

Seismic strengthening of our crematorium and chapel at Kelvin Grove Cemetery

Maycroft Construction is upgrading our crematorium and chapel until May 2024. There will be no chapel services during this time.

The crematorium will be closed until mid-March.

We have an arrangement with Whanganui District Council to assist each other over this shutdown period. We are providing free transportation services to the Whanganui crematorium, so please contact our cemeteries team leader Emmet Parsons on 06 356 8199.

We appreciate your understanding as we complete this important work to ensure our crematorium and chapel continue to service our community in future.

Terrace End Cemetery

Main Street/Napier Road intersection, with access from Napier Road.

Established in 1875, this was the second public cemetery in Palmerston North. The first was on the site that is now the Central Energy Trust Arena. Terrace End Cemetery is closed for sales of new plots, but people with existing family plots may still be buried here.