Beautiful new chapel on way

Attractive and practical: An artist's impression of the new chapel and crematorium.

The first steps towards building the new regional chapel and crematorium at Hastings Cemetery have been taken this week.

As well as addressing building strength issues, the new chapel will have room for more people, 100 compared to 80, with more able to be accommodated in the adjoining covered deck area. 

“It is going to be a very attractive and practical building that will enable us to provide excellent service now and into the future,” said Hawke’s Bay Crematorium Committee chairman Malcolm Dixon.

“The committee is very pleased with the design. It addresses all of the issues of the old building but does reflect the façade of a piece of architecture that has been an important part of our landscape for 70-plus years.”

The chapel was found to be earthquake-prone in 2012 and temporary work to make it as safe as possible in the short term was carried out over 10 months while options for a new building were explored. 

Following the urgent improvements, the Hawke’s Bay Crematorium Committee, made up of representatives from the Hastings, Napier and Central Hawke’s Bay councils, started work on a plan for the new building. As well as the strength of the building, other issues included the unusual shape which meant nearly half of the attendees at a funeral could not see the service and that the cremator, installed in 2015, could not be used during a service due to its location at the back of the Chapel. 

For the first three months the project will have no impact on services, with a new building to house the cremator the first part of the project to be built. That will be followed by the move of the cremator into its new home in early November.

The demolition of the chapel is due to start in mid-November, with the new building due to be opened in mid-2018.

Discussions have been held with funeral directors and alternative arrangements made for the times when normal services cannot be provided.