Ngaio Marsh House was an absolute treat during our recent trip to Christchurch. But the pilgrimage would not have been complete without a journey to visit Ngaio Marsh's grave.
Ngaio wanted to be buried at Peel Forest, which is a gorgeous area of native bush, tucked into the base of the hills on the edge of the Canterbury plains near Geraldine. This was a place she visited often and it was the home of her great friends the Ackland family. After we finally found the little churchyard and cemetery where she is buried, it is a bit off the beaten track, I could fully understand why she would have wanted eternal rest there.
The Church of the Holy Innocents at Mount Peel is a stunning little church and its surroundings with trees, bush, paddocks and cows was idyllic. We went on a warm and sunny day and the whole area exuded peace and calm.
There was nothing auspicious about Ngaio's gravestone. It simply says 'Edith Ngaio Marsh.' That is all, no dates, no accolades, just an elegant and to the point memorial.
The company she keeps at the cemetery is fascinating. This is a very old and historic churchyard, in fact it held the grave of the first woman to be born in Christchurch. It is also the ancestral home of the Ackland family, and other families. I was also intrigued to note there were a couple of graves for people who had died overseas, but had wanted their remains to be brought back to Peel forest. Such is the allure of the place.
So Ngaio rests in heavenly peace amongst her friends in what I think must be one of the prettiest and serene places in New Zealand.