Brych graves may be relocated

Saturday March 12, 2016 Written by Published in Politics
Finance minister Mark Brown. 160311106 Finance minister Mark Brown. 160311106

AS government still awaits funds to pay for remedial work at the Brych Yard cemetery, Minister for Finance and Economic Development Mark Brown says some of the graves may need exhuming and relocating.


CI News asked Brown whether the government would consider allocating or coming up with a project for the cemetery under the much-touted new Green Climate Fund (GSF) readiness grant.

Brown said government was indeed concerned about the cemetery and had already done some remedial work to the foreshore to try and protect graves.

“However a lot more needs to be done in terms of maybe relocating some of those graves into a more appropriate location.

“This is so that these graveyards are not right next to the foreshore. It is a matter of exhuming some of those graves and relocating them to more suitable areas further away from the foreshore.”

Brown said this would ensure graves were protected from the effects of sea surges. 

“Unfortunately the bodies that are buried there have no family living here in the Cook Islands so the government will have to take the initiative to protect the remains of the people that are buried there.”

A growing number of people have been calling on the government to allocate funds for the additional work to complete shoreline protection and the issue has also received plenty of attention on social media.

Many of the people buried at the site were patients of disbarred New Zealand doctor Milan Brych, who claimed to have a cure for cancer.

A Facebook page called Save the Brychyard/RSA Government Cemetery claims the cemetery is a Crown Land government cemetery and also contains the graves of Cook Islanders, many of them who were not from Rarotonga and had no family land to be buried on.

CI News has previously drawn attention to the fact that the graves include the last resting places of Cook Islands soldiers who fought in World War One – and some of those graves have had to be rescued by members of the RSA, who have voluntarily tried to maintain the cemetery over the years.

The Facebook page calls on island residents, the government and non-government organisations to help protect the whole government cemetery on Rarotonga and not just one section of it.

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