Akaroa’s town cemetery is divided into three parts, for Anglicans, Catholics and “Dissenters” (although there was never an established church in New Zealand so the term is not strictly correct).
In a poem called “The Long Harbour”, Mary Ursula Bethell wrote of a “sequestered hillside ossuary” and of a place “where manukas/sighing, windswept and sea-answering pine groves/garrison the burial ground”. The area was designated as a cemetery in early surveys of Akaroa and the first burials, in the part of the cemetery reserved for Anglicans, were in the late 1850s. Names prominent in Akaroa’s history can be read on the gravestones in the Anglican Cemetery: Watkins, Waeckerle, Pavitt, Garwood, Armstrong, Hempelman, Bruce.
The Catholics were allocated ground in the cemetery in 1866, as part of an exchange involving land allocated earlier to the Catholics on L’Aube Hill (see French Cemetery). In the Roman Catholic Cemetery too are stones bearing names familiar to those acquainted with Akaroa’s history: Le Lievre, Bauriaud, Brocherie, Narbey.
The “Dissenters” Cemetery was also gazetted in 1866, but the oldest stone in this part of the cemetery bears the date 1873. This part of the cemetery was the last resting place of, mainly, Presbyterians.