Playing a part in planning the funeral service allows you to add personal touches and to make the service something that truly reflects the person’s life. It also provides you with rituals which may help in the early stages of grief.  

It is important to know if the person has a prepaid funeral arrangement and what are the wishes of the person? 

Was a decision made about burial or cremation for example?  


Getting assistance 

This can be an emotionally draining time. Consider asking someone to assist you with the funeral arrangements.  


Choosing a Funeral Organiser  

This is probably one of the first things you will need to do. 


If you decide to use a funeral director, unless you have a particular firm that you know well, you have the right to speak to many Funeral Directors (FD) before making a decision.  

FD can be registered with the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) 



If a funeral director is not involved, you will need to liaise directly with the cemetery or crematorium office where the funeral is to take place. 

Natural/green burial 

Eco Funerals  


Tissue Donation 

Your relative or friend may have indicated that they would like to donate tissue. If this was the case, the donor team should 

 be contacted.  


Donating body to medicine 

If this was organised, contact the relevant people. However, this may not always be possible if the university is not able to accommodate the body. Consider tissue donation as an alternative. [email protected]  


Coroner’s involvement 

If the Coroner is involved, it will take a few days until the Funeral Director takes over. It takes some time for the Coroner’s report to be completed and forwarded to the GP. 


Some questions to ask the FD: 

Will the person be embalmed? 

Where will the service be held? 

Will the funeral service be recorded? 

Is there an opportunity for skypewebcasting the service? 

Will the service be religious / Non-religious?  

Who will conduct the service e.g. Minister or Celebrant? 


What is included? For example

Death notice in paper 

Flowers or donations to a charity      of your choosing 


Service Sheets 

Memorial Presentations 


What are the costs?

Burial versus cremation 

Funeral – weekend / mid-week 

Casket options 

Is GST included in the quote? 


What can be included in a funeral? 

Music: Own choice; a favourite piece – a simple way of personalising the service, cultural piece, religious music 

It is traditional to have music played as people enter and leave, and sometimes during the service – allowing quiet reflection time. 

Poems and prose readingsyou may have some personal or family pieces. 

Returning to your home country 

If the wishes were that the body/ashes are to return to the home country, a funeral director can help with the regulations and repatriation of the body. 


A venue may include a church, chapel, RSA, sports club, outdoor location or Funeral Home.  


Who to notify  

The next of kin and family members 

The family doctor 

The Solicitor or executor of the will 

The preferred Funeral Director 


Alternative websites 

Registrar of Deaths;  

NZ Citizens Advice Bureau:  

NZ Government – Death and Bereavement:  

NZ Work and Income: 


Although one journey may be finishing, the journey for you will continue. 

The time before a funeral can be very busy. When the funeral is over the reality begins to sink in. 

We are all unique and grieve differently. Be gentle with yourself.  

As you face your loss there might be times when you need some support.  

Your GP will be the best person to approach in the first instance to put you in touch with the appropriate support available to you in your area. 


Services that have been involved during the person’s illness, or the Funeral Director may also offer bereavement support.