Five murderers

Moved to Symonds Street cemetery

Making way for a new produce market

When a new market was to be built at the bottom of Queen St, on the site of the old city gaol, the bodies of five murderers were exhumed and brought to Symonds Street Cemetery. Because of their criminal records, they would have been buried in the General section.

The New Zealand Herald of 19 November 1866 details the story of five murderers who had been executed and buried in the old Auckland gaol yard, and who were later exhumed and reinterred in Symonds Street Cemetery.

They were Thomas (actually Joseph) Burns, William Bowden, Charles Marsden, John White and John Kelly.

The Daily Southern Cross of 31 August 1875 has six names, including Maketu. The articles claim they were all disinterred from the old Auckland Gaol, where they had been hung, and reinterred in "a remote and unused spot in Symonds Street Cemetery". Precisely when or where is not known.

Maketu wasn't among those re-buried and Joseph Burns had actually been hung in Devonport, at the spot where he had committed his murders.

The Daily Southern Cross of 27 May 1848 reported that Burns was executed for the murder of Snow family.

On 27 February 1852 the newspaper told how William Bowden murdered William Dixon of the 58th Regiment.

Then on 15 February 1856, Charles Marsden was executed for the murder of Kerara just a few days earlier.

Later that year, on 11 July, The Daily Southern Cross reported on how John White of the 58th Regiment, of Monagham, Ireland, was executed for murder of Ann Fay, on 8 July.

On Christmas Day 1857 John Kelly murdered John Butler at Whangarei.

According to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Vol 1 - page 262) Maketu was baptised as Wiremu Kingi on the morning of 7 March 1842, his body was interred within the gaol. Ten months later in 1843 his body was exhumed and reburied in the family urupā in the Bay of Islands.