A beautiful mosaic tile pathway is being created at Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium in Auckland, New Zealand, to remember stillborn and newborn babies.Inspiration for the 95 metre-long colourful pathway came from a Nelson Cemetery in the South Island, where a similar mosaic memorial exists.
In 2015, Purewa Cemetery Trust Board Trustee, Murray Ward, and General Manager, Clifton Thomson, visited the historic Fairfield Cemetery and were impressed by the beauty and appropriateness of the butterfly mosaics featured in a walkway.
The Purewa Cemetery Trust Board commissioned well-known New Zealand mosaic artist Joy Bell, to design and lay the pathway in the existing new born and still born area of the cemetery.
This is Joy Bell's last art installation, but her work with mosaic tiles is widely acclaimedin schools and on public buildings, and is well-known for its fresh, natural themes.
While the colours are predominantly blues, greens and white, families purchasing memorial butterflies in mosaic tiles, can choose their preferred colours.
Individual butterfly memorials will be available for purchase by families within the mosaic pathway, each one contributing to the stunning visual memorial.
Purewa General Manager, Clifton Thomson, says the project isn't just an historical monument but a special place dedicated to special little ones - newborns and stillborns, and their parents.
"Historically parents were rarely granted any contact with stillborn and newborn babies that died. Thankfully things are different now, but we still feel it's important that families have some place to come back to and visit," he says.
The stillborn/newborn and children's area is a relatively new initiative at Purewa, being created in April 2004. There are three separate berms allowing for different sized plots, and two much loved monuments – the White Angel and Mother and Child.
Before construction could begin in September this year, an old cobblestone path in the children's sanctuary had to be removed, and a substructure and concrete path installed, over which the mosaic tiles have been laid.