According to the Star News website (NZ) a new bid to restore historically-significant headstones in Akaroa has been launched as the Christchurch City Council re-evaluates spending in the wake of the global pandemic.
If successful, it is hoped the early settlers’ headstones will be an important part of work that could also see one of the town’s cemeteries expanded and a memorial entrance installed.
The Comte de Paris Descendants Group and the Akaroa Cemeteries Group put their plans to the city council ahead of the most recent annual plan deliberations.
As the city council pared-down its Covid-19 affected budget, the groups asked for the town’s nationally important cemeteries to be made a priority in the new year.
Representatives will meet city council staff in the coming weeks to discuss council plans for headstone conservation, landscaping and cemetery development.
The groups have identified 40 needing work soon after the earthquake. The city council initially proposed tackling up to 13 restorations, which was reduced to six in 2018.
That work had yet to start, so the groups proposed four heritage headstones should be restored this financial year. It was hoped two could be fixed by early next year.
Akaroa was founded in 1840 by French settlers, and its picturesque Catholic cemetery contains the graves of many of these early pioneers. The obelisk in the foreground marks the grave of François and Justine Le Lievre, founders of a prominent Akaroa family. The view through the trees is of Akaroa Harbour.