​It is illegal to remove any body (or the remains of any body) buried in any burial ground without a disinterment licence from the District Health Board.

Applications must be in writing and are usually made by:

  • person(s) related to the deceased;
  • the executor of the will of the deceased;
  • a funeral director acting on behalf of either of the above;
  • an iwi/Mäori authority acting on behalf of the close relatives; or
  • a person acting for the family.

Applications should be submitted to the applicant’s local District Health Board (“DHB”) Public Health Unit addressed to the Health Protection Officer, who will assess the application and forward it, together with a report and recommendations, to the Ministry of Health, Wellington.
If the proposed disinterment is urgent, details of the disinterment may be e-mailed or faxed to the applicant’s local DHB Public Health Unit.

Procedures for Disinterments - Burial and Cremation Act 1964

Following approval from the District Health Board an application for a disinterment warrant can be made to Council. The form for this is provided in the document link at the bottom of this page. Note that there is a Council fee to carry out the disinterment. The fee for the current year can be found on the Cemeteries Fees and Charges.

Page reviewed: 04 Apr 2019 10:13am