Ketenikau (Kamo) Cemetery was originally a Māori urupa (burial ground).
It first began use as a pakeha cemetery following the death of a young girl, Ada Holman.
When Ada died her parents weren't allowed to bury her at the Christ Church graveyard because she hadn't been christened. Her parents asked local Pohe chief, Merie Te Puiha, if they could bury her in Ketenikau Cemetery.
The chief agreed and in 1882, Ada Holman was buried in there. After this Mr Holman negotiated to purchase a quarter of an acre for a pakeha cemetery.
The cemetery’s establishment was aided by Mr Holman’s father, James Whitelaw, William and James Carruth, Mr Walton, Mr Barnes and Mr Bethels.
Mrs Holman then set out to raise fifty pounds for a chapel to be built, giving those who donated one pound or more a guaranteed family plot in the cemetery.
Unfortunately, the money was destroyed in the 1889 Kamo Hall fire, where it was being kept for safe keeping and the chapel was never built.