The grave of a three-day-old baby bears deep tyre marks over one corner. Nearby piles of dirt partly cover more plots and a marble headstone lies broken and face down.
Trucks have been wreaking havoc at the Otahuhu Roman Catholic Cemetery for weeks and Trevor Parkinson is fed up.
The damage to the graves - some of which date from around 1850 - is deeply disrespectful, he says.
''I'm not a particularly religious or superstitious person but that isn't right. That's a person under there who lived a life. It could be my ancestors; it could be your ancestors.''
The trucks belong to workers authorised by Father Leo Doyle of nearby St Joseph and St Joachim Parish, which owns the cemetery.
Father Doyle said he was approached a few weeks ago by a man wishing to fill in a gully at the back of the cemetery with soil.
He gave him the go-ahead but was not aware of the destruction until alerted by Fairfax Media.
He was ''shocked'' to learn that graves had been damaged.
''It's probably due to the wet weather and trucks sliding around - I definitely don't think it's deliberate,'' he said.
A spokesman from the Catholic Diocese said the news was ''very distressing''.
Now the Auckland Council has stepped into the fray, ordering the workers to stop depositing soil at the cemetery as they do not have a resource consent.
''Staff will be carrying out a thorough investigation into this issue as a matter of priority,'' resource consents team leader David Oakhill says.
The workers could not be identified by the council and Father Doyle says they ''haven't come back since they got the boot''.
The parish will now have to decide whether to repair or replace the broken headstone but the dirt piles will be easy to remove from the graves, he said.
Parkinson is welcoming the news: ''at least no more trucks are going to be driving over and burying people's graves. If that's all that's happened then I've done what I needed to do.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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