Rest in peace? Cemetery visitor outraged at noisy exercise group

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Oct 2020, 4:06PM

Rest in peace? Cemetery visitor outraged at noisy exercise group

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 28 Oct 2020, 4:06PM

An exercise group who worked out at Purewa Cemetery in Auckland for years is being asked to move on after a complaint from a man mourning.

The man, who didn't want to be named, says he went to the Meadowbank cemetery to spend a moment at his dad's burial plot yesterday to remember his birthday.

The tranquil setting and sanctity of the suburban graveyard was shattered by a group of fitness buffs working out to blaring pop music and loud voices.

"I go there on his birthday and the day he died every year. Suddenly I'm hearing music and these people are jumping up and down and someone yelling out, 'one, two' and on further investigation I found these people having their fitness class."

However, the owner of the exercise group told the Herald his group had been working out there since 2015 and apart from one wee issue they never had any complaints.

Steve Butler of BAReFIT says a neighbour once complained about the music but they resolved the issue and moved where they worked out in the cemetery.

They never worked out in an area where you could see graves, Butler says, nestled behind a building and even had permission to be there.

Butler unreservedly apologised for causing the man harm and says it was never his intention.

"We do apologise and were only trying to do what we have been doing for a few years," he said.

"I was completely clueless to it affecting people on that level, so apologies. It's news to me it affected people in that way."

The fitness coach has since been asked to find a new place to run his workout sessions.

"I can't go there, it's a bit of a sad end of an era ... We're going to have to find somewhere else," Butler said.

"We're a small business, I've been doing it for so many years and purely dedicated to Meadowbank, people in the area."

The man visiting his dad's plot says more than a dozen people were working out and he went up to the group and asked if they thought it was appropriate.

While he only ever planned to stay a short time at his father's plot, he had wanted it to be a special moment that was reflective and peaceful.

"I was amazed. They shouldn't be there," he said.

"It's a cemetery. I'm not particularly religious but this is not the place for this sort of behaviour.

"If you saw people hooning around and driving up and downplaying loud music you'd say that wouldn't be acceptable behaviour so I don't see why running a fitness club in a graveyard is."