Hunting Kiwis has been featured on New Zealand radio, in New Zealand press and in genealogy magazines in Australia and the UK.

PARSONS Hubert 1


Hunting Kiwis is racing to record Canterbury’s remote and historic headstones, along with their valuable inscriptions, before more destructive earthquakes shake the Cantabrian countryside once more.

* SEARCH for a surname (search box in the top right hand corner)
* BROWSE a cemetery using the list below or the side-bar menu
* DONATE to keep the project going and to help towards repairing damage in Canterbury’s rural cemeteries

* REQUEST RESEARCH in cemeteries not already listed or ask me to help you solve your genealogical puzzles.



Bishop’s Corner, Southbridge/Leeston
Courtenay – St. Matthew’s Church and Cemetery
Cust – Lower Church of England site (St James Anglican Parish, Tippings Road)
Darfield – St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and Cemetery
Greendale Cemetery – Greendale
Kimberley Cemetery
Kirwee – Public Cemetery
Kirwee – St George’s Church and Cemetery
Kowai Bush War Memorial
Rockwood Station Graves
Springfield – St. Peter’s Community Church and Kowai Pass Cemetery
Springfield – St. Peter’s Community Church and lychgate plaques
St. James’ Church Cemetery, Papanui/Harewood
Waddington Cemetery

In Progress:

Birch Hill Cemetery (nr Glentui) (50% complete)
**NEW** Brackenbridge Catholic Cemetery (90% complete)
Church of the Holy Innocents, Mt Peel Station
(50% complete)
Culverden Cemetery (20% complete)

Cust / West Eyreton Public Cemetery
(80% complete)

Glentunnel – South Malvern Cemetery (50% complete)
Halkett Presbyterian (40% complete)
Hanmer Springs Cemetery (60% complete)
Hororata – St John’s Anglican & Public (10% listed)
Mayfield – Ruapuna Cemetery (99% complete)
Waikari Cemetery (10% complete)
Yaldhurst Cemetery
(5% complete)

Future Projects:


If you are unsure of a cemetery name, use KiwiCelts’ detailed Cemetery Database and Map to locate a cemetery associated with a particular region or town in New Zealand.

*TIP: Use the search function to look for a surname contained on this site, remember to also check for variations in spelling such as “Mackintosh” versus “MacIntosh”.

Email me for gravestone images or research queries: moorfnz@gmail.com


34 thoughts on “Gravestones of Canterbury, New Zealand

  1. Hi this is sam from facebook, can you please send me a couple of pics also did you want photos of damaged ones?

    Posted by Sam Sword | January 3, 2011, 4:09 am
  2. Hi,

    I have the “Meet A Rabbit” column over at the Graveyard Rabbit Association and would like to feature your blog. Please email me –


    Sheri Fenley

    Posted by Sheri Fenley | February 16, 2011, 7:28 am
  3. Hi,
    The Greendale cemetery has had a real battering from the September earthquake with a large number of headstones broken off and shattered. There is a lot of work required to bring this cemetery back to the beautiful condition that it was in before the quake. Unfortunately this will be up to the families of the interned if funding is not found from other sources. Those who have no known relatives with probably not be restored. Its goog that you have taken on this recording.

    Posted by John Clarkson | April 18, 2011, 10:00 am
    • Hi John

      Yes, Greendale did take a battering, I had a quick look a few months back but they were still making safe so I left it for a while. In fact, by coincidence, I am off there tomorrow to start recording. I am hoping they have managed to turn some of the fallen stones face-up.

      I wonder (hope) if some relatives might see gravestones of their ancestors on this blog and decide to repair them.


      Posted by hleggatt | April 18, 2011, 10:10 am
  4. Dear John,

    I heard recently from a Mason relative that several of the lovely gravesides of the Mason family in the Okain’s Bay Cemetery, Banks Peninsula have been destroyed in the earthquake. Several
    members of the family have donated monies towards their restoration and Barry R. Mason together with John M. Hitchen,who wrote, “150 Years of the Mason Family in New Zealand…… 1837 – 1987 is donating the few rmaining books at $100 each towards the cost.

    My heartfelt thanks to all those dedicated people who are working so hard and quickly to preserve these invaluable records in our historic, remote cemetries.


    Posted by Fianne Zijlstra | April 25, 2011, 9:18 pm
    • Very interesting, Dianne, and great to hear that some of the gravestones are being repaired, and appreciated! Where might a copy of John Hitchen’s book be purchased?

      Posted by hleggatt | April 25, 2011, 11:44 pm
      • Hello,
        I have emailed you details of Barry R. Mason’s address and phone number so you may contact him as he has the remaining books.

        Best of luck,

        Posted by Dianne Zijlstra | May 1, 2011, 3:47 am
  5. Hello there. Listened to you on radio this morning, what a great job you are doing. It would be very rewarding to be doing this. So interesting. Thank you for thinking of it. Cheers VELLER. West Coast S.I. NZ.

    Posted by Veller | May 21, 2011, 2:53 am
  6. Is there any news of damage at the Ellsmere Public Cemetery? I am from the North Island aand have great grandparents buried there.

    Regards for your great work.


    Posted by Trevor Moore | May 21, 2011, 9:10 am
  7. Surely I cant be the first person to tell you that the vast majority of the earlier and historic tombstones (or MIs, as they are known) for the whole of NZ have already been transcribed by genealogists during the latter part of last century running on into this century. I myself have transcribed many thousand. The transcriptions (approximately a million of them) exist on over 1000 microfiche, as they were completed before the invention and development of computers as we know them today, and the fiche may be viewed at major libraries. An overall comprehensive national index also exists on CD. The NZ Society of Genealogists (P.O. Box 14036, Panmure, Auckland 1741, or, http://www.genealogy.org.nz) is the keeper and custodian of this resource.

    I wish you well, but there is no point in re-inventing the wheel.

    Posted by Derek GRIFFIS | July 1, 2011, 2:48 am
    • Thanks for your comment.

      As a member of the NZSG I am well aware of the plethora of transcriptions available. However, these are written transcriptions and not images of the headstones themselves, which is the project that I, and some councils, local/family history groups and individuals across NZ (and the world) have undertaken.

      In my eyes it’s not re-inventing the wheel – it is “enhancing” the valuable work that has already been done using today’s technology. 🙂


      Posted by hleggatt | July 1, 2011, 4:14 am
      • Helen
        I have to agree with your comment. Headstones do not last forever and after what Canterbury has had to put up with in the last 14 months, these need to be photgraphed for future reference.

        Posted by Michelle Cook nee Chammen | November 7, 2011, 5:40 am
    • I have to say Derek, that while the efforts of you (and others) must have been quite extensive, and appreciated I’m sure, the transcriptions are only one part of the genealogy puzzle. An image of the stone or marker is another. And you can see that neither are reinventions of the other but rather extensions from the same branch.

      Posted by Shandrah | October 7, 2011, 12:04 am
  8. Hi Helen

    love your dedication and wondered if you were aware of this site and the smart phone app they made available? basically, you can take a photo of the headstone and upload it to the website along with the co-ordinates so that anyone else can see the info — it’s nice quick option…. http://billiongraves.com

    Even if you don’t ahve a smart phone they are looking for volunteers to transcribe photos already uploaded.

    Bit US centric at the moment but so far — 4 NZ cemeteries feaured…

    Christchurch NZ

    Posted by Lynda Hirst | August 17, 2011, 5:54 am
  9. Great nto see someone taking an interest. A few years ago we had a community working bee at the Geraldine Cemetry to tidy it up and repair broken gravestones. Had a friendly bricklayer who helped plus some donations to help pay for things. Might be an idea for communities. Also a cemetries at Mesopotamia, Woodbury, and Kakahu. Are you looking for people to help? Posted by Lee Geraldine 20 Feb 2013

    Posted by Lee Burdon | February 20, 2013, 3:04 am
  10. Hi there any chance of the old Flaxton graveyard between Kaiapoi and Rangiora being photo-ed at some point in the future. The church was decomissioned in the 1920’s – 30’s but the graves are still in situ although someone has told me sheep are grazing it now. Keep up the good work transcripts are one thing but photos are another.

    Regards Ali.

    Posted by Ali. | March 21, 2013, 5:15 am
    • Hi Ali,

      I hope to get around to doing that cemetery soon-ish – so many to do, so little time! If you give me the names you are looking for, and I’m passing, I can nip in and find and photograph them for you 🙂


      Posted by hleggatt | March 21, 2013, 11:00 am
      • HI Helen its all sorted family traveled back to Flaxton last year and found the headstone for John Borrell that my great uncles had installed back in the 1980’s (John passed in the 1880’s or so and i think they were too poor for a headstone – he was the pound keep at Ohoka when he died). For some reason i never received your answer so thank you for your kindly offer and keep on with the good works. regards Alison (gg granddaughter of John Borrell)

        Posted by Alison | March 7, 2016, 6:46 am
  11. Great work Helen, I am going to go and do Springston and Taumutu cemeteries so I will sent you a copy.

    Posted by Wendy Dick | March 14, 2015, 1:48 am
  12. Hello I am researching Charles Oscar Erickson my grand uncle, b. 1890 P.Nth. who died 21 October 1962, to facilitate a memoriam for him and his six brothers on “DiscoveringANZACS”. Is there any chance of a print out of the wording on his headstone. We know very little about him or his marital status, his circumstances leading up to his death etc. Charles parents were Scandinavian settlers 1872 in the Seventy Mile Bush and died in Dannevirke 1930’s and 40s. I have responded to the request for a small donation by M.Card.
    Kindest regards
    Barry Erickson.

    Posted by Barry Erickson | May 18, 2015, 11:24 am
    • Dear Barry – many thanks for getting in touch, apologies for the delay in responding I have had a busy semester at Uni.

      I will email you a copy of the image, although the inscription was hard to read!

      Kind regards
      Helen @ Hunting Kiwis

      Posted by hleggatt | July 4, 2015, 7:01 am
  13. great article

    Posted by michal | March 1, 2016, 7:27 am
  14. Has anyone transcribed or photographed the many headstones at the small Gebbies Valley Church just out of Motokurara, on the way to Little River. Also what other cemeteries are there in this area, was there one at Kaituna. We have a number of McQueen, Newton, Bevin relations that lived in this area and trying to find their grave sites

    Posted by Margaret Harris | August 3, 2016, 1:39 am
    • Hi Margaret

      I have recently photographed the headstones at the Church of the Epiphany in Gebbies Pass. These will be going online just as soon as I have the time to do so.

      Helen @ Hunting Kiwis

      Posted by hleggatt | October 26, 2016, 5:08 am
      • Thanks for the info, let me know we
        Hen you finish. I think you are doing a wonderful job.

        Posted by Margaret Harris | October 26, 2016, 5:43 am
      • I am just looking through my images for you to see if I have any of the names you mention. I will email them to you later tonight.

        Posted by hleggatt | October 26, 2016, 5:52 am
  15. I am trying to establish the full name of person buried in Plot 76 Akaroa Dissenters Cemetery.The surname of the person is SMART but I would really like to know the full name of the person.

    Posted by Barry Smart | October 25, 2016, 10:43 pm
    • Hi Barry

      As you have probably already discovered, the cemeteries database lists only the surname SMART, with no dates either. I will get to Akaroa over the next couple of months and will look at the headstone itself to see if there are any clues, although I suspect that the database has recorded the extent of the information available on the headstone. The only other way would be to see if there are any burial/cemetery records alluding to the plot number. I will investigate.

      Helen @ Hunting Kiwis

      Posted by hleggatt | October 26, 2016, 5:10 am
  16. Hi there , I have been hunting high and low for one of my relatives that I just cannot find on any databases to cemeteries in within New Zealand . I am looking for Ernest Melville Summerfield who passed away in 6th November 1961 aged about 37 years old. I am doing my family research as I know very little of any of my relatives.
    If you can find this elusive relative , I would be so grateful.

    Posted by Raymond | February 25, 2017, 7:40 am
  17. I need your help once again ! Looking for the burial place of Eliza Summerfield d.1884 age 49 , Eliza death was registered to Waipukurau and Otago .
    Also looking for Harry John Darrell Summerfield d.23 March 1978 age 73, I was led to believe he was buried in Timaru , but the search there came up nil. So I am not sure where he is buried yet to date .
    I am doing a Summerfield search throughout New Zealand , and have found a few !
    Hear soon
    Raymond Summerfield.

    Posted by Raymond | March 17, 2017, 12:47 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hunting Kiwis and receive notifications of new cemetery listings by email.


Blog Stats

  • 222,990 hits
%d bloggers like this: