I'm heading over to Christchurch next month for a holiday and plan to cover a story on the damage that the recent earthquakes have had on the cities Cemeteries.
The story will be filmed and I expect it to run for about 3-4 minutes.
Christchurch has suffered over 3600 earth tremors since last September, the most recent occurring just yesterday. The city's 24 local cemeteries have also suffered greatly. Historic tombstones have been knocked over, obelisks have been snapped in half and above-ground burials have had walls cave-in. Sadly, the older graves (some of which are over 150 years old) have suffered the worst.
Christchurch City Council (CCC) claims that while the cemetery land is council property, the headstones and graves, themselves are private property of the families and therefore refuse to provide financial assistance to families and voluntary cemetery care-taker groups.
The story would contrast the treatment that Christchurch's historic buildings have had in comparison to the historic cemeteries. After the September quake, Manchester Courts - New Zealand's first 'skyscraper' - was demolished after it was deemed unrepairable. This received widespread media attention and historic buildings have received funding to assist repair, yet the cemeteries are not provided with any financial assistance.
Stewart Harvey - Chairman of the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust of New Zealand
Alexandra Gilbert - Volunteer at "Friends of Linwood Cemetery" group
Alan Beauzenberg - Christchurch City Council Transport and Greenspace Manager
Adrian Ryswyk - Volunteer at "Friends of Barbadoes St. Cemetery" group
Malcolm Duff - General Manager of the Southern Regional office of the Historic Houses Trust, New Zealand
I would also like to get in touch with families who have had to pay for their own headstone repairs but council refuses to give out private details. I'm hoping that I may be able to vox-pop cemetery goers.
Photo Credit: http://ontarions.travellerspoint.com/