The funeral is an opportunity to capture special memories and recall moments of pride and delight in the life of the deceased.
One of our friendly funeral directors will assist you in making decisions while discussing the different options of various parts of the funeral, which are all listed below.
When to have the funeral
When establishing a day and time for the funeral of a loved one, it is necessary to consider when family members, the funeral director, the celebrant, and the venue are all available. It is also necessary to consider whether the cremation or burial will take place before or after the refreshments.
Burial or cremation
The deceased person may have left instructions regarding their wish to be buried or cremated. Otherwise, the family needs to decide what is most appropriate for the deceased. If cremation takes place, decisions regarding the placement or scattering of ashes also need to be made. If burial is the preference, decisions regarding cemetery location and plot need to be made. In some areas families may visit the cemetery and select a plot location that they prefer.
The deceased’s doctor will also need to know your intentions so they can prepare the required documentation.
Our experienced staff can discuss and provide advice regarding embalming.
In New Zealand culture, when someone dies, we need to say goodbye. This farewell may take many forms – a funeral service, a Tangihanga, a wake, or a gathering of friends. The time frame between death and the funeral has been increasing in recent years, as some family members may need to travel to attend the funeral. Understandably, some people simply need more time to prepare for the funeral. The opportunity for family to see and spend time with the deceased after embalming is very helpful with grieving and leaves a much better ‘memory picture’ than they may otherwise have. For embalming to take place, consent must be given by a family representative or executor. Embalming temporarily delays the body’s natural deterioration and provides dignity for the deceased, and a more positive experience for family members. Embalming also enables the possibility of transferring the deceased to the family home or marae prior to the funeral. Our cool climate-controlled facility is an alternative option. However, this can limit access to your loved one and has other considerations which we will discuss with you, if required.
You will need to select a venue for the funeral service. Funeral venue options include our Funeral Home Chapel and reception lounge, churches and church halls, crematorium chapels, community halls or your home. The decision as to where the funeral is held will need to consider the availability of the venue and the number of attendees you anticipate at the funeral It is sometimes difficult to estimate the number of people who will attend. Consider family members, friends of the deceased and of family members, and members of the wider community, all of whom may wish to support the bereaved or pay their respects to the deceased person.
Another point to consider here is if you are planning to have refreshments, and if you would prefer to do so in the same location as the service. Woolertons Funeral Home offers both a service and refreshment venue on site.
Who will conduct the service?
A funeral service is most often conducted by a minister, priest, or celebrant. You may already know of someone who you would like to take the funeral service. If you do not have a particular person in mind, we can recommend an appropriate funeral celebrant, minister or priest who will meet with you and help you put together a meaningful ceremony.
The casket selected will often represent the taste and style of the deceased. Woolertons’ provide a spectrum of high quality, sustainable, and environmentally friendly caskets across a range of prices, to suit your requirements. We have both traditional and modern styles available.
Dressing the deceased
The deceased may have left directions about the clothing they would like to be dressed in, or the selection may be made by family members. Alternatively, we can discuss suitable clothing choices with you.
You may wish to personally dress your loved one, we can assist you if desired.
Newspaper notices are placed prior to the service to notify family and friends of the death and the location and time of the funeral service. Some families prefer a private service and may place the newspaper notice to advise a service has been held. You may choose the wording of your notice, or we can help you with this.
An order of service is a beautiful way to present a favourite photo of your loved one and provide hymns, quotations, invitations and directions for the service attendees. High quality photos are an important feature of well-presented service sheets, as these often provide a lasting keepsake for family and friends. Some families like to design and print service sheets using their own resources, though with the short time frames and disrupted life patterns that can surround bereavement, this task can become an unwanted pressure. If this is the case, formatting and printing can be completed by us through a professional designer and printer.
Livestreaming the funeral service
If family members or close friends cannot attend the funeral because of distance, timing, or travel limitations, they may greatly appreciate having access to livestreaming. To accommodate this, we offer optional livestreaming through OneRoom. https://www.oneroomstreaming.com/family-and-friends This service allows your remote attendees to view online from their desktop, tablet or mobile phone. Our chapel is equipped to livestream the service, or we can arrange for livestreaming from alternative venues. Sometimes primary family members find that emotions are a barrier to listening on the day of the funeral and may wish to have a recording of the service to appreciate tributes and eulogies later.
A memorial register or signature book can be placed at the entrance to the venue of the funeral ceremony for attendees to sign. This may then be personalized and provided as a beautiful memorial of the service for the family to treasure and reflect.
Photographs illustrating the deceased’s life and family can be compiled into a beautiful photographic presentation which can be played before or during the funeral. We can assist in arranging this tribute for you through Fond Memories. Simply provide the photos you would like to use, and the music or song you wish to play during the photo show, and we will arrange the rest. We will keep them safe and return them to you as soon as possible. Photos can be hard copy, in albums, on slides, and on USB. Please do not use photos of photos on your phone, as they do not present as well. Ideally 50-60 photos (less is fine) and 1-2 songs will provide a photo show of 5-7 minutes.
Alternatively, photographs can be placed on a photo board, on an easel. This needs to be arranged before the funeral.
Music can be very powerful and is a comfort at a time of grief and loss. Music that has significance for your family can be played as part of the service. Special hymns or songs create a sense of togetherness for everyone attending the funeral. Favourite music may be supplied. An organist or pianist will often accompany the congregation if hymns are selected.
Musicians such as a piper or a soloist can also enhance the funeral. You may have a family member or friend that would like to sing or play an instrument, or we can assist in providing a musician as requested.
Meeting and greeting each other over a cup of tea and light refreshments after the funeral can be an important part of the occasion. It is a time for people to give and receive comfort from each other, share more stories about the deceased person and rebuild connections. We can arrange for catering at our premises or at an alternative venue. Most dietary requirements of attendees can be accommodated, when advised prior to the funeral.
Some families may appreciate a return to the old tradition of having those attending the funeral bring food to share after the service, rather than having professional catering.
A special poem or reading will give extra meaning to the ceremony. Woolertons’ has a selection of appropriate poems, verses, and readings. In addition, the internet is a valuable resource for writings pertaining to loss and grief. You might request the celebrant to include a particular poem or verse, or you may have a family member that would like to do so.
It can be a positive and memorable experience for family members, including grandchildren, and close friends to have a role at the funeral. They may be ushers or pall bearers, or they may deliver readings. Taking an active part in the service honors loved ones and adds a personal touch to the service This helps all involved to recall the ceremony in a positive way in years to come.
Organizations and clubs
A variety of organizations may wish to participate in and contribute to the funeral in some way. Such organizations include the RSA, Rotary, Lions, Masonic Lodge, bowling club, rugby club, sports team, or the deceased person’s former workplace. We can assist in coordinating a guard of honor if this is required.
At Woolertons’ we offer a choice of classic vehicles. We have a beautiful Mercedes or a stunning Buick hearse so that loved ones can depart in style. We are happy for you to select the hearse you prefer.
Floral tributes or casket sprays are highly personal. They can be displayed on the casket and at the funeral venue. Families may use a florist of their choice, we can order flowers of your choice, or refer you to a florist. The floral tributes can include the deceased’s favourite flowers and colours. After the funeral the flowers can either remain with the deceased or be returned to the family.
A funeral can be further personalised by displaying personal items on the casket, such as medals, sports or hobby memorabilia or other meaningful items that represent the deceased’s life and interests. Personal items can be used in addition to, or in place of floral tributes.
Some families like to decorate or write on the casket to personalise it for their loved one.
Any New Zealander is permitted to have the New Zealand flag draped over their casket if they would like to.
Although this is not an expectation, some people wish to express a final act of giving back to the community through donations to a charity of their choice. This would normally be included in the funeral newspaper notice so that people are given forewarning.
Registering a death
Detailed information is required for the registration of a death, as per Births, Deaths, and Marriages requirements. We will gather the required information from you, and send this to Births, Deaths, and Marriages on the day of the funeral. A Death Certificate is then returned approximately 7-10 days later.