This cemetery was established 6 May 1882 by a board of trustees being, Bernt Syversen, Magnus
Neilson, Anders Olsen, Nis Lund, and Thomas Baleys. Soon after there was an outbreak of diphtheria
in the settlement. The first burials at the cemetery were; Andrine Syversen [4 Dec 1882] followed by
Gustava Syversen [12 Dec 1882] and shortly after, Carl Syversen [25 Dec 1882]. These are the
younger children of Bernt & Anne Syversen.
This cemetery continued in use until 1896 when a new site was established a few kilometres south of town on Mangaoranga Road. The Alfredton Road Cemetery was closed due to its proximity to ground water, being the towns water source, following a number of illnesses linked to the drinking water. There were a number burials occurring after the closure: primarily ones accompanying earlier internments of family members. These include Bernt Syversen buried adjacent to his three children in 1902, and the last recorded burial was Henry Burling interned adjacent to his wife Agnes in 1916.
Over the decades following the closure of the cemetery it became over grown with lack of maintenance. The fire which swept through the district in 1908 destroyed the vegetation & all timber grave markers and surrounds. By 1964 the site was completely overgrown with vegetation as seen above.
In 1967 the council decided to clear the site. A survey completed by two councillors in 1969 could only identify 16 grave sites, with only 9 having legible inscriptions and the remaining documentation of this survey is scant. By 1973 the site had been completely cleared, with all remaining headstones and markers removed from the site which were then used as landfill.
A Memorial Cairn was erected for the 1973 Centenary celebrations.
Late in 2022 a proposal was put to council to use a portion of the reserve that contained the Settlers Cemetery adjacent to the cemetery site as an "Off Lesh Dog Park". It was agreed that prior to further consideration a survey be conducted to ascertain the extent of the burials, as no plan of the site existed. There were no burial records kept prior to the first church constructed in 1891, and the first council formed in 1907. A preliminary survey, using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), was undertaken in November 2022 by the Tararua District Council in collaboration with the Eketāhuna/Mellemskov Museum. Pictured above is the GPR unit.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) being undertaken in November 2022 conducted by the Tararua District Council in collaboration with the Eketāhuna/Mellemskov Museum.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) completed in November 2022 located a number of possible burials.
A full survey was completed in Feb/March 2023 conducted by the Tararua District Council in collaboration with the Eketāhuna/Mellemskov Museum.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) markers.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Feb/March 2023 Output. The information gathered will be collated, hopefully, to form a comprehensive layout of the site. So far there is evidence provided that an excess of 33 burials may have occurred on this site.
Eketāhuna’s Settlers Cemetery, Alfredton Road, Eketāhuna in March 2023. This is an ongoing project which will take time to complete. Any further information regarding burials, family history/photographs etc. please contact the Eketāhuna/Mellemskov Museum, PO Box 27 Eketāhuna 4940.