Saturday, January 7, 2012


CHINESE RESURRECTIONISTS AT WAIKUMETE. DISINTOKRMENT OF CORPSES. A GRUESOME SPECTACLE. Time, 5.30 a.m., on a bitterly cold morning, in Waikumete Cemetery. Half-frozen, a pressman and a photographer attached to the staff of the "Graphic" make their way from the sexton's house to the furthermost corner of the cemetery, where is situated the section for Chinese and Atheists and aliens unprovided for elsewhere. A noise of hammering comes fromi the section, which is a good half mil© from the Aj__glicain and Presbyterian allotments, and on -arrival work found to fee in full operation. The reception of our "reporter and his photographic confrere is the reverse of friendly, and an immediate wrangle ensues amongst the gravediggers, evidently on the subject of the cam-, era fiend's presence. A Chinese halfcaste European insists on their instant ejectment. The sexton, however, who has-been handed proper credentials, proves a firm friend, and insists that he, and not any; Chinaman, or half-caste Chinaman, is in change of the cemetery, and that he has his instructions. Things then calm down a trifle, but the work is resumed amidst much grumbling, and many vindictive and malignant glances are cast at the camera, and muttered curses uttered at the photographer as he dodges round looking for a chance shot. Once, indeed, when the shutter clicks, a furious celestial raises his pick in menace, and mutters a threat to do for the intruders, 'but he thinks better of it, and1 at the intervention of the European coffinmaker a truce is declared until arrival of "the boss." That individual presently arrives. He scans the permit; gloomily enough, and 'bids that the photos be taken forthwith, and the photographer and pressman depart. It toeing pointed out that there is no picture yet to take, and seeing that bluff has no effect, all active opposition as at once and' finally dropped, and no difficulty put in the way of obtaining pictures or witnessing the proceedings save in giving mendacious information, lighting fires to obscure' the graves with smoke, and endeavouring to tire oat the patience of the reporters, etc. By ten o'clock four'graves, are opened, but owing to the non-arrival of some solder and zinc from' Auckland it, is decided' to open only two coffins on this occasion. The first of these contained the corpse of on© Kong Shang, who died in 1891, a young' Celestial of 36. It was thomght that there would be nothing but dry bones there, but the stiff white clay is evidently a preservative, for when the coffin, which is full of water, is .opened, it is seen that the bones have a decided! covering of what had once been flesh/ and1 though -drenched in carbolic acid a sickening odour makes itself feAt at intervals. Directly an attempt is made to stir the body it all falls to pieces, the decomposed flesh falling off in

Auckland Star, Volume XXXIII, Issue 231, 29 September 1902, Page 5

A-GRUMBLE FROM WAIKUMETE. Mr Cochrane asked the Waitemata County Council this afternoon to raise an objection to any repetition of the disinterment proceeding, which had been going on at Waikumete. The exhuming of bodies was a very nasty thing for any district, and had caused a good deal of grumbling at Waikumete. Mr Bruce said the disinterments were sanctioned by law. Mr Cochrane said Southern councils had protested. He was told the scene was flisg-usting in the extreme. The Treasurer said the wet clay soil of "Waikuincte had a preservative effect. At Devonport after a body had been buried a few years nothing remained but bones and the tin plate of the coffin. The Chairman (Mr O'Neill) said it was a matter of sentiment with the Chinese people to take the bodies home. Mr E. W. Alison did not see what they as a council had to do in the matter. Mr Cochrane thought the Chinamen should in future be compelled to bury on a small island if they were determined to disinter. The council took no action in the matter. Auckland Star, Volume XXXIII, Issue 235, 3 October 1902, Page 5

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