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The refresh has taken about eight months.

Whenua Tapu works complete

Whenua Tapu chapel and crematorium in Porirua has re-opened to the community after a significant refresh and earthquake strengthening.

The chapel, originally opened in 1982, was closed in February to allow work on a new roof, asbestos remediation, a new family area including kitchen and upgraded bathrooms, and new flooring.

The cremator, meanwhile, had reached the end of its life and its consent expired in June. A new one was purpose-built, shipped from Australia, and a crane was used to put it in place this August.

As part of the project, which cost more than $2 million, plaques at the front of the chapel were removed and safely stored, while the Remembrance Book assumed a temporary spot at Porirua Library.

Both have been returned to the chapel, with the plaques lovingly given a spruce up and placed back on the outside of the chapel wall.

“It is brilliant to see those plaques back to their former glory and I’m sure the families will appreciate this gesture for their loved ones,” said Porirua Mayor Anita Baker.

“This refresh of the chapel, new cremator and plaques is something our community can be immensely proud of, and this facility is now fit for purpose for many, many years to come.

“Whenua Tapu has always been a special place and now we have a chapel that is bright and welcoming to come into for families and friends to farewell loved ones.

“It’s a wonderful project to see completed because we know what this place means to so many people.”

The refresh commenced in 2018, with the budget allocated in the Long-term Plan 2018-38 and public feedback sought in 2019.

Whenua Tapu Cemetery remained open during the construction work, allowing visitors to continue to visit loved ones, while alternative arrangements were made with funeral directors for funerals and cremations elsewhere in the region.

On Monday 8 November an official ceremony and blessing was carried out to re-open the facility.

8 Nov 2021