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Virtual technology providing the answer for long distance loved ones to mourn

Technology is providing the answer for those wanting to see the graves of their loved ones but live too far away.

Stu Campbell, the information technology manager at Ruapehu District Council, says the concept behind the virtual cemeteries is for people who "can visit the cemetery from anywhere in the world". 

Ruapehu District Council is mapping out its cemeteries using high definition cameras on a drone.

Virtual models will be matched with their records, creating a walk through experience.

"The criteria was that we could get in and read a headstone and really get people the experience of being there," Mr Campbell said.

Some of the graves date back to early European settlement, and with over 10 cemeteries in the Ruapehu District, the council is calling on the public to provide any information or records they may have to create profiles of the deceased.

"Where it goes in the future, who knows? People walking around the cemetery headstones with their phones, maybe they just point it at the headstone and it actually gives them all that information."

Auckland company Digital Memorials has been using a similar method for around one year now, using barcodes embedded on headstones which can be scanned with a smartphone.

"Scanning that code will show you their entire history, their whakapapa, where did they come from," Digital Memorials director Tania Jeffs said.

Tatiana Hotere, a Digital Memorials user, created a profile with photos and video tributes of her husband Jason, who died one year ago.

"My kids will be able to watch it whenever they want and one day, when I have grandchildren, I'll be able to show them their papa that they never met," Ms Hotere said.

The Ruapehu District Council's created a virtual walk through of their cemeteries. Source: 1 NEWS