With cemeteries offering large expanses of 'green' open space, often as a respite from the surrounding suburban and urban areas, the 2020 New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference is aiming to present an understanding of how to achieve sustainable and a vibrant future for the industry in New Zealand.

Being held in Rotorua from 4th to 6th May, the New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective (NZCCC), in partnership with Recreation Aotearoa, will be bringing together leaders in the sector to discuss local and global issues that will impact the future of the industry. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from speakers presenting on a range of subjects, from sustainable burial practices to technological advances in cemetery management.

Introducing the conference, which runs alongside the 2020 Green Pavlova conference, Recreation Aotearoa Parks and Open Spaces Programme Manager, Karl Nesbitt states “the New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference is an important event on the industry’s calendar as a platform for networking, sharing and learning.

“The cemeteries and crematoria industry has come a long way and there is some really innovative work happening, which many people may not be aware of. Our programme of diverse speakers is a testament to this ever-evolving industry.”

On day one of the conference Dr Maiken Ueland from the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) will speak about her unique field of work in forensic taphonomy; the study of human remains from the time of death to the time of discovery. Delegates will get a rare insight into the work that Dr Maiken and AFTER do in this area of forensic science.

Ruth McManus, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Canterbury, will explore with delegates how new forms and attitudes to body disposal are emerging. Her presentation will explore ways in which three independent outfits (a church, a nurse and quarry business) are emerging as New Zealand pioneers in sustainable body disposal.

Darryl Thomas of the Geelong Cemeteries Trust will talk about graveside safety and the work Geelong Cemeteries Trust did to design and manufacture a range of safety equipment that could be used to assist in preventing tragedies occurring at the graveside.

Health and wellbeing specialist, Dana Carver, with over 20 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing sector will discuss the importance of work life wellbeing and its significance in the cemeteries and crematoria context.

Explaining the issues, Carver advises “understanding what wellbeing is and how to maintain it is important for all of us in the pressures and dynamics of the modern world, but it’s particularly important for occupations where we are required to manage the expectations of people who are grieving.

“There can be a lot of emotional impact from funerals and working with bereaved families. Having the skills to recognise when we’re distressed and being aware of what we can do to stay resilient is key. I’m really looking forward to sharing my passion for wellbeing and meeting the people who work in this important part of our community.”

The conference will conclude with a special awards dinner to recognise some of the innovative and hard-working individuals and organisations in the sector.

The conference is open to everyone with an interest in the cemeteries and crematoria industry.

Click here for details of the 2020 New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Conference in the Australasian Leisure Management industry calendar.

Images courtesy of the New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective. The lower image shows delegates at the Collective's 2018 conference.