The twists and turns of early settler history are being highlighted by the Drybread Cemetery Trust.
Trustee Karen Glassford said this year the trust was celebrating 150 years of continuous records at the remote cemetery at the northern end of the Manuherikia Valley, near Omakau.
The trust knew burials went on before that date, but it took its anniversary date from the first record from February 28, 1870, which was Thomas Greenback, who accidentally drowned aged 18 months.
‘‘We are 90-odd percent sure he is not the earliest burial but he is the first recorded one.’’
Goldmining began in the area about 1864 and Mrs Glassford believed there would have been burials from at least that date.
‘‘As long as goldmining has been here, there have been people dying.’’
Throughout the past decade the trust had made improvements to the cemetery, removing trees that were damaging the graves, cleaning up and revealing more burial sites, and more recently building new gates to the cemetery, as well as an information kiosk that displayed a map and plot list for every known burial there.
The cemetery had personal significance for the Glassfords, as it was on their land. But even though the site was in the middle of private property, they welcomed people coming to visit.
All the original records were available to view at their home, Mrs Glassford said.
‘‘It is in the middle of our farm but we have never closed . . . we want people to know that they can come — it is everyone’s history.’’