Monday, 19 Feb 2007

A Marlborough man plans to give deceased nature-lovers the chance to permanently sleep with fish.

Clive Barker, of the Marlborough Reef Trust, is seeking resource consent to build New Zealand's first eco-burial reef.

Mr Barker planned to make the Karaka Point reef out of concrete "reef balls" placed on the seafloor.

People would arrange to have their cremated ashes mixed with concrete, moulded into fish-friendly shapes and laid to rest.

It was one of five artificial reefs he sought consent to build in the sounds to help establish habitats for marine life.

However, plans for the innovative memorial caused letters to the the Marlborough Express when the January consent notification failed to mention dead people's ashes would be added into the mix.

Marborough District Council consent officer Keith Heather said people could submit their own thoughts on the reefs when the consent notification was readvertised next week.

"Some people are reacting to it as though we are dumping whole bodies down there." More than 500 memorial reefs had been built in the US, and the eco-burial movement was gaining momentum worldwide as people sought alternatives to traditional burials.

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