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I took a big walk in the CBD area today, searching out places I have no memory of going, or had not been for a good many years. One such place was the Symonds Street Cemetery. Now a historic parks area, I found it quite fascinating, with mixed emotions.

Established in 1842, by Western New Zealand terms, this is a very old graveyard, home to many early Auckland settlers, and several people of notable title. From the road, the cemetery is selectively maintained, but as you walk in and dwell a little deeper, nature really has taken over.

On one hand it is sad to see this history being cracked up, overturn and overgrown, but from another perspective, its almost the ultimate return to nature. I cant say I have placed much thought on where I want to end up at end of days, but I don’t think I would be that upset if after a century passes I have been engulfed by a tall tree that was once a shrub by my headstone.

Walking through the Cemetery I saw a number of homeless, or evidence of them staying there. A tent hidden in the overgrown wild bush being one of the more ‘high class’ establishments. Parts of the lower cemetery, where the highway has cut across, had been used for a dumping ground of tyres. Everywhere I went there was evidence of gravestones that had fallen into disrepair, or literally been absorbed into bush and tree as the forest took over. One other thing I found interesting is how the city also has ‘overgrown’ over the graveyard. Grafton Bridge, a tall two lane vehicle bridge cuts over the graveyard- leaving but inches over a number of headstones, and likely meant relocating a number more.

For those in the CBD looking for a walk, I highly recommend it. There are a number of tracks one can explore, and although I made mention of vagrants, I have never had an issue with such folk as long as you are respectful (there was only a handful anyway). Its a beautiful inner city bush. As the cemetery is divided into two with Symonds street breaking it down the middle, I will likely visit the other half another day when I head that way.

Photo wise, taken on the Ricoh GRD IV with bleach bypass, all I did with post in Gimp was crop the aspect a little and resize for web.

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