Reprint as at 20 May 2014

Burial and Cremation Act 1964

Public Act1964 No 75
Date of assent18 November 1964
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Health.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Act not to apply to Maori burial grounds

Part 1
Establishment, maintenance, and regulation of cemeteries

4 Local authorities to provide cemeteries

5 Functions of local authorities

6 Cemetery to be open to public

7 Name of cemetery

8 Management of cemetery

9 Powers as to vaults, monuments, etc

10 Exclusive right of burial, etc

11 Portions for different denominations

12 Sections may be marked off and consecrated

13 Rights of minister of religion, etc

14 Guardians

15 Burial of members of Her Majesty's Forces, etc

16 Bylaws

17 Copies of bylaws

Part 2
Finance and miscellaneous functions

18 Receipts and expenditure

19 Appointment of officers

20 Clearance of disused cemeteries

21 Restrictions on alienation

Part 3

22 Application of this Part

23 Appointment and removal of trustees

24 Governor-General may delegate powers

25 Functions of trustees

26 Proceedings of trustees

27 Property to vest in trustees

28 Finance

29 Accounting records must be kept

29A Financial statements

29B Financial statements must be audited

30 Bylaws made by trustees

Part 4
Burial grounds

31 Dedication of denominational burial grounds

32 Managers of denominational burial grounds

33 Private burial grounds

34 Trustees of private burial grounds

35 Trustees may hold endowments for maintenance of burial ground, etc

36 Application of Act to burial grounds

Part 5

37 Regulations as to cremation

38 Erection of crematoria

39 Application of Act in respect of crematoria

40 Crematorium bylaws

Part 6
Closing of cemeteries and burial grounds

41 Minister may close cemeteries and burial grounds

42 Saving of rights

43 Closed cemeteries

44 Closed burial grounds

45 Clearance of closed cemeteries and closed burial grounds

45A Minister may reopen closed cemeteries and burial grounds

45B Control and management of reopened cemeteries and burial grounds

45C Vesting of title in reopened cemeteries and burial grounds

45D Crematoria situated within reopened cemeteries or burial grounds

Part 7
General provisions

46 Unlawful burials

46AA Doctor's certificate or coroner's authorisation required before body disposed of

46A Stillborn children

46B Doctor's certificate in relation to illness

46C Doctor's certificate in relation to accidents to elderly persons

46D No liability for costs incurred in supplying information

46E Bodies to be disposed of within reasonable time

46F Transfer of charge of body

47 Burial in private burial place

48 Burial in special place

49 Burial and cremation of poor persons

50 Burials to be registered

51 Removal of body

52 Inspection of cemeteries

53 Vesting of title in certain cases

Part 8
Offences and penalties

54AA Offences concerning doctor's certificate or certificate relating to stillbirth

54 Offences concerning burials

55 Unlawful exhumation

56 Offences concerning cremation

57 Trespass by animals

58 Offences punishable on summary conviction [Repealed]

Part 9
Regulations, savings, and repeals

59 Regulations

60 Savings

61 Repeals and savings

Schedule 1

Schedule 2
Enactments repealed

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the burial and cremation of the dead