Funeral Plans: Peace of Mind for the Future

Thinking about our mortality can be challenging, but planning for our funeral arrangements brings peace of mind and eases the burden on our loved ones during difficult times. Funeral plans allow us to make crucial decisions in advance, ensuring our wishes are honoured and relieving financial and logistical pressures on our families. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of funeral plans and discuss how they can help you prepare for the future.

  1. Taking Control of Your Funeral: Funeral plans allow you to control your funeral arrangements. You can specify your preferences for burial or cremation, choose the type of service you desire, and even select the music, readings, or special rituals that hold personal significance. Documenting your wishes in a funeral plan ensures your voice is heard and respected when the time comes.
  2. Relieving Financial Burdens: One of the significant advantages of a funeral plan is the opportunity to lock in today’s prices for future funeral expenses. Funeral costs tend to rise over time, so by prepaying for your funeral, you protect yourself and your loved ones from potential financial strain. Funeral plans provide transparency and allow you to plan and budget accordingly, giving you peace of mind that your family won’t face unexpected financial burdens.
  3. Alleviating Emotional Stress: Losing a loved one is an emotional experience, and the responsibility of arranging a funeral can add to the grief and stress. Having a funeral plan in place alleviates this burden on your family. Your plan outlines your preferences, reducing the need for difficult decision-making during heightened emotions. Your loved ones can focus on supporting each other and grieving rather than worrying about logistical details.
  4. Customizing Your Farewell: Funeral plans offer an opportunity to personalize your farewell. You can specify the style and tone of the service, choose meaningful readings or songs, and incorporate any special requests that reflect your personality and values. Customizing your funeral ensures that it becomes a unique and heartfelt celebration of your life, leaving a lasting impression on those who attend.
  5. Supporting Your Loved Ones: Having a funeral plan in place provides a clear roadmap for your loved ones to follow. It eliminates uncertainty and disagreements that can arise when important decisions need to be made quickly. By taking care of the practical aspects in advance, you provide guidance and support, allowing your family to focus on grieving and remembering you in their way.
  6. Reviewing and Updating Your Plan: Your preferences and circumstances may change as time passes. Reviewing and updating your funeral plan periodically ensures it accurately reflects your wishes. Life events, such as marriages, births, or changes in religious beliefs, may prompt revisions to your plan. Regularly reviewing and discussing your funeral plan with your loved ones ensures everyone is on the same page.

Funeral plans offer peace of mind and the opportunity to shape your legacy. By taking control of your funeral arrangements, relieving financial burdens, and supporting your loved ones, you create a meaningful and comforting experience for all involved. Planning allows you to celebrate your life on your terms, leaving a lasting legacy that reflects your unique journey. Consider exploring funeral plans today to embrace the benefits they provide for you and your loved ones in the future.

Exploring the Cost of Cremation in New Zealand: Understanding Your Options

When planning end-of-life arrangements, understanding the costs involved is an essential aspect. Cremation has become a popular choice for many families in New Zealand due to its affordability, flexibility, and environmental considerations. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the cost of cremation in New Zealand, providing insights into the factors that influence pricing and discussing various options available to help you make informed decisions during a sensitive time.

  1. Basic Cremation Packages: Cremation costs in New Zealand typically vary based on the services and additional features selected. Basic cremation packages encompass essential services like the transportation of the deceased, necessary paperwork, and the cremation process itself. These packages often serve as a foundation for families to tailor their arrangements according to their preferences and budget.
  2. Additional Services and Options: Beyond the basic package, families may incorporate other services and options to influence the overall cost. These may include visitation and viewing arrangements, personalized memorial services, embalming, and the use of gathering facilities. Understanding the individual components and associated costs allows families to make choices that align with their wishes and financial considerations.
  3. Urns and Memorialization: Following the cremation process, families often decide to keep the ashes in an urn or scatter them in a significant location. Urns are available in various materials, designs, and prices. The cost of urns can vary depending on craftsmanship, materials used, and customization options. Families can also explore multiple memorialization options like cremation jewellery, memorial plaques, or planting a memorial tree as a lasting tribute to their loved ones.
  4. Regional Variations: It’s important to note that the cost of cremation can vary across different regions in New Zealand. Factors such as location, competition among funeral homes, and local regulations can influence the pricing. Researching and comparing costs in your area can help you find the most suitable and cost-effective options.
  5. Financial Assistance and Preplanning: There are avenues to explore financial assistance or preplanning options for those concerned about managing the cremation cost. Some funeral homes offer prepayment plans, allowing individuals to secure their cremation arrangements at today’s prices. Additionally, government assistance or support, such as Funeral Grants or contributions from insurance policies, may be available to alleviate the financial burden.

Understanding the cost of cremation in New Zealand empowers individuals and families to make informed decisions when planning end-of-life arrangements. By exploring basic packages, considering additional services, and researching regional variations, you can create a meaningful farewell that respects your loved one’s wishes and financial situation. Remember to contact local funeral homes, ask for detailed pricing information, and explore financial assistance or preplanning options to ensure a smooth and affordable process during this difficult time.

Mānawatia a Matariki

The Stars of the Matariki Cluster:

Matariki (f) connected to health and wellbeing and is also the Mother to the other stars in the cluster

Pōhutakawa (f) connected to those who have passed on, in particular those that have passed since the last rising of Matariki

Tupuānuku (f) connected to food grown in the ground (eg kumara etc)

Tupuārangi (m) connected to food from the sky (eg birds etc)

Waitī (f) connected to fresh water food (eg tuna etc)

Waitā (m) connected to salt water food (eg fish etc)

Waipunarangi (f) connected to rain

Ururangi (m) connected to winds

Hiwa-i-te rangi (f) connected to your dreams and desires for the year ahead.

The Principles for Matariki

Matariki is a time of reflection, celebration and preparation.

The three key principles for Matariki are:

Matariki Hunga Nui


Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.

Matariki Ahunga Nui

Celebrating the Present

Gathering together to give thanks for what we have.

Matariki Manako Nui

Looking to the Future

Looking forward to the promise of a new year.

Matariki Kāinga Hokia

Matariki calls you home

The theme for 2023 is Matariki Kāinga Hokia.

This year, we encourage everyone to return to their whānau and their people, wherever and whoever that might be. We want people to journey back home and celebrate, feast and be with whānau and friends.

Furthermore, the theme is also underpinned with important environmental messages. The various stars in Matariki invite you to return to where you are from and reconnect with the mountains, rivers, ocean and land. It reminds us of our responsibility to the places we call home.

The values of Matariki

The values that are associated with Matariki are listed below. These values are embedded in the traditional practices of Matariki.


Love and respect for one another







Mana Taiao

Environmental awareness





Noho tahi

Coming together







Five Misconceptions About the Funeral Industry

The funeral industry is vital in supporting individuals and families during one of the most challenging times in their lives. However, like any other industry, it is surrounded by misconceptions and myths that often overshadow its true purpose and services. 

We will delve into the top five misconceptions about the funeral industry in New Zealand and shed light on its crucial role in supporting individuals and families during tough times and the compassionate professionals dedicated to serving our community.

Misconception 1: Funerals are always solemn and depressing affairs.

The notion that funerals are always solemn and depressing affairs is a myth. While funerals are typically sad due to the loss of a loved one, they can also serve as meaningful and celebratory events that honour and remember the deceased’s life.

  1. Celebration of Life: Many modern funerals celebrate the deceased’s life and accomplishments. Instead of solely emphasizing grief and sorrow, these ceremonies often include uplifting and positive elements that highlight the person’s unique qualities, achievements, and cherished memories. This shift in perspective can help create a more celebratory atmosphere.
  2. Personalization and Individuality: Funerals today allow for greater personalization and reflect the deceased’s individuality. Families can choose the elements and rituals that align with their loved one’s personality and preferences, and this can include incorporating music, readings, stories, and even specific themes that evoke a sense of joy and remembrance rather than solely focusing on sadness.
  3. Sharing and Support: Funerals allow family and friends to come together, share their memories, and support one another. While there may be moments of grief and reflection, the collective presence of loved ones can also foster a sense of unity and comfort. Funerals can be a time for shared stories, laughter, and the rekindling of relationships, which can bring solace and a more positive atmosphere.
  4. Cultural and Religious Traditions: Cultural and religious traditions often play a significant role in funerals. Some practices incorporate celebration elements, such as live music, dance, or communal feasts, uplifting the mood and creating a more joyful atmosphere. These customs vary across different cultures and religions, demonstrating that funerals can be unique expressions of cultural heritage and beliefs.
  5. Healing and Closure: Funerals provide a virtual space for the grieving process and facilitate healing and closure. While there may be sadness, expressing emotions and acknowledging the loss can lead to peace and acceptance. The presence of support networks, memorial rituals, and the opportunity to say goodbye can contribute to a more cathartic and uplifting experience.

It’s important to remember that funerals can take different forms, and each one is influenced by the wishes and traditions of the family and the culture to which they belong. By embracing the idea of celebrating a life and finding moments of joy and connection amidst the grieving process, funerals can become more meaningful and less solely focused on sadness and solemnity.

Misconception 2: Funeral costs are exorbitant and exploitative.

The myth that funeral costs are exorbitant and exploitative is not entirely accurate. While it is true that funerals can be expensive, it is crucial to understand the factors contributing to the overall cost and recognize that funeral homes provide valuable services and support to grieving families. 

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Service and Expertise: Funeral homes employ trained professionals who guide families through the funeral planning process. These experts handle various tasks, including coordinating with cemeteries, obtaining necessary permits and certificates, preparing the body, organizing visitations or viewings, and arranging transportation. The fees charged by funeral homes often reflect the level of service and expertise provided.
  2. Facilities and Equipment: Funeral homes maintain facilities and equipment to ensure that funeral services are conducted dignifiedly. These facilities often include chapels, viewing rooms, reception areas, and preparation rooms. The costs associated with maintaining these facilities and acquiring specialized equipment contribute to the overall expenses.
  3. Legal and Administrative Requirements: Funeral homes are responsible for complying with various legal and administrative requirements associated with funeral services. These can include obtaining death certificates, burial permits, cremation permits and coordinating with local authorities. These processes involve time, effort, and expenses.
  4. Staff and Operations: Funeral homes employ staff members such as funeral directors, embalmers, administrative staff, and support personnel. The cost of salaries, training, benefits, and other operational expenses are reflected in the overall pricing structure.
  5. Additional Services: Funeral homes offer services beyond the basic funeral, such as memorialization options, funeral notices, transportation, floral arrangements, and catering. These optional services contribute to the overall cost but provide families with choices and customization to honour their loved ones appropriately.

While it is essential to be mindful of the expenses involved in funeral arrangements, it is also important to recognize the value of funeral homes in helping families navigate a complex and emotionally challenging time. Funeral costs can vary depending on location, specific services chosen, and personal preferences. Individuals should research and compare prices and discuss their budgets and needs with funeral directors to ensure they receive the benefits they desire within their means.

Misconception 3: Cremation is the cheapest option available.

Cremation is often considered more affordable than traditional burial but is not always the cheapest option. While cremation can be a cost-effective choice in many cases, it’s essential to consider several factors impacting the overall cost.

  1. Funeral Home Charges: Funeral homes typically charge fees for cremation services, including transportation of the body, necessary permits, professional staff assistance, and the use of their facilities. These fees can vary depending on the funeral home and the specific services chosen. Therefore, the cost of cremation may not solely rely on the cremation process itself.
  2. Additional Services: Families often opt for other services or ceremonies before or after the cremation, such as memorial services, viewings, or religious rituals. These additional services can incur extra costs and may be similar to those associated with traditional burial. Choosing to have a memorial service or other ceremonies can add to the overall cost of cremation.
  3. Urn Selection and Memorialization: After cremation, families may keep the ashes in an urn and scatter them in a designated area. The cost of urns can vary significantly depending on the materials, design, and customization options. Additional expenses may be involved if families decide on a permanent memorialization option, such as a plaque or headstone.
  4. Pre-Planning and Pre-Paid Arrangements: Some people opt for pre-planning or pre-paid cremation arrangements to alleviate the financial burden on their loved ones. These arrangements typically involve paying for the cremation services in advance, locking in prices at the time of purchase. While pre-planning can provide cost savings, it’s essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of such agreements to ensure they meet specific needs and preferences.
  5. Geographic Factors: The cremation cost can vary depending on the location. Prices may differ between urban and rural areas and between different funeral homes within the same region. Researching and comparing prices from various providers is advisable to find the most affordable options in a specific area.

While cremation can be more cost-effective than traditional burial, it’s essential to consider all the associated costs and factors specific to individual circumstances. By discussing preferences and budget constraints with funeral professionals, individuals can make informed decisions that align with their needs while considering the overall cost implications.

Misconception 4: Funeral directors are solely focused on financial gain.

The idea that funeral directors are solely focused on financial gain is a misconception that paints an inaccurate picture of their role and intentions. While funeral directors operate businesses and must consider financial aspects, their primary focus is to provide compassionate and professional support to grieving families during difficult times. 

  1. Compassion and Care: Funeral directors are trained professionals who have chosen a career path that involves providing care and support to bereaved families. They understand the sensitive nature of their work and are dedicated to guiding families through the funeral process with empathy, sensitivity, and respect. Funeral directors often develop long-lasting relationships with families, demonstrating their commitment to serving their needs beyond financial considerations.
  2. Expert Guidance: Funeral directors possess expertise and knowledge about funeral practices, local regulations, and options available to families. They use this expertise to assist families in making informed decisions about funeral arrangements based on their preferences, cultural or religious customs, and budgetary constraints. Funeral directors often go the extra mile to ensure families have a meaningful and personalized experience, reflecting the extraordinary life of the deceased.
  3. Transparency and Communication: Reputable funeral directors prioritize openness in their family dealings. They provide clear explanations of services, itemized pricing, and options available, ensuring that families thoroughly understand the costs involved. Funeral directors are typically open to discussing budgetary concerns and finding solutions that meet families’ needs without compromising on the quality of service.
  4. Support beyond Financial Matters: Funeral directors provide emotional and practical assistance throughout funeral planning. They help families navigate administrative tasks, obtain necessary permits and certificates, coordinate with cemeteries or crematories, and handle logistics. Funeral directors often work closely with families to ensure their wishes are met and that the funeral service honours the deceased’s life meaningfully.
  5. Professional Standards and Regulations: Funeral directors are subject to professional standards and regulations that govern their practices. These standards ensure ethical conduct, transparency, and fair business practices. Professional organizations and licensing boards exist to uphold these standards and provide oversight, promoting the best interests of both funeral directors and the families they serve.

While funeral homes are businesses that require financial sustainability, reputable funeral directors understand the importance of their role in providing support and care during a loss. They strive to balance the financial aspects with the emotional needs of families, emphasizing compassionate service above mere profit. It’s essential to approach funeral directors with open communication and trust, recognizing their dedication to assisting families in their time of need.

Misconception 5: Preplanning funerals is unnecessary and morbid.

Contrary to belief, the idea that preplanning funerals is unnecessary and morbid is a misconception that overlooks the practical and emotional benefits of preplanning. Preplanning funerals can be a thoughtful and responsible decision that provides peace of mind for individuals and their loved ones. 

  1. Relieves Emotional Burden: Preplanning funerals can alleviate a significant emotional burden on loved ones during grief and loss. By making decisions in advance, individuals can ensure their wishes are known and documented, reducing the stress and uncertainty faced by family members who might otherwise have to make difficult choices while mourning.
  2. Personalization and Fulfillment of Wishes: Preplanning allows individuals to personalize their funerals and ensure their final wishes are honoured. It provides an opportunity to make specific requests regarding religious or cultural traditions, choice of burial or cremation, selection of music, readings, or even the inclusion of personal mementos. Preplanning empowers individuals to shape their funerals to reflect their values and preferences.
  3. Financial Considerations: Preplanning can help individuals consider and manage the financial aspects of their funerals. By discussing pricing and options with funeral professionals in advance, individuals can make informed budgeting decisions and explore opportunities for prepayment or funeral insurance, which can potentially save loved ones from financial burdens and unexpected expenses in the future.
  4. Reduces Family Conflicts: Preplanning funerals can help prevent conflicts and disagreements among family members regarding funeral arrangements. When individuals clearly outline their preferences and make their decisions known, it minimizes the chances of differences among surviving family members with differing opinions or expectations. Preplanning can contribute to a smoother and more harmonious process for all involved.
  5. Celebrating Life and Legacy: Preplanning allows individuals to focus on celebrating their life and legacy. By actively participating in the planning process, individuals can ensure that their funerals become meaningful events that reflect their values, accomplishments, and the impact they had on their loved ones’ lives. Preplanning can shift the focus from morbid thoughts to creating a positive and uplifting experience for those left behind.

It’s important to note that preplanning funerals does not mean dwelling on death or inviting negativity. Instead, it allows individuals to take control of their arrangements, alleviate stress on their loved ones, and ensure their final wishes are respected. Preplanning can be a proactive and empowering act that promotes peace of mind and allows individuals to leave a lasting positive legacy.

The funeral industry is dedicated to providing compassionate support and guidance to individuals and families during their most vulnerable moments. By dispelling these misconceptions, we hope to understand better the industry’s essential functions and the compassionate professionals who serve the community.

Embracing the Dance of Life and Death

In shadows cast by fading light,

Where solemn whispers fill the night,

A poet’s pen now takes its flight,

To explore the depths of eternal plight.

Death, a companion on life’s grand stage,

An enigma that defies our sage,

In its embrace, we turn the page,

To realms unknown, where spirits engage.

From the cradle to the grave we tread,

Through joys and sorrows, tears we shed,

In death’s sweet grip, our souls are led,

To realms where mysteries lie widespread.

Yet, in the face of life’s fleeting breath,

Death beckons us to ponder its depth,

To cherish moments, make memories’ wreath,

And find solace in the knowledge we’re not bereft.

For though it may seem a fearsome plight,

Death’s hand may hold an unexpected light,

A passage to a realm of endless sight,

Where love and hope transcend our earthly plight.

So let us not fear death’s gentle call,

But rather embrace its presence tall,

For it reminds us, one and all,

To live our lives with purpose and enthrall.

In death’s embrace, we find release,

A dance with eternity, a final peace,

Embracing the unknown, our souls find release,

And through the veil, our spirit finds its lease.

Creating a Unique Funeral Service 

Losing a loved one is a deeply personal experience, and creating a unique funeral service can be a meaningful way to honour their life and celebrate their individuality. In New Zealand, various options are available to customise a funeral service. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you create a unique and heartfelt farewell for your loved one.

Step 1: Reflect on the Individual’s Life and Wishes
Take time to reflect on the life of the person who has passed away. Consider their passions, interests, and values. Reflect on any conversations or wishes they may have expressed regarding their funeral arrangements. This step will lay the foundation for personalising the service.

Step 2: Choose the Setting
Consider the setting that would best reflect the individual’s personality and preferences. You can opt for a traditional funeral home but also explore unique locations such as a beach, park, family home, or a place that holds special meaning to the deceased. Obtain any necessary permits or permissions if choosing a non-traditional location.

Step 3: Select a Celebrant or Officiant
Find a celebrant or officiant to lead the funeral service and help create a personalised ceremony. Choose someone experienced, compassionate, and willing to work closely with you to honour your loved one’s life. Meet with the celebrant to discuss your ideas, share stories, and collaborate on crafting a unique service.

Step 4: Customise the Ceremony
Work closely with the celebrant to personalise the funeral ceremony. Incorporate elements such as favourite music, readings, poetry, or religious/spiritual traditions that hold significance to the deceased. Encourage family and friends to contribute by sharing memories, stories or performing unique musical pieces.

Step 5: Create a Memorial Display
Design a memorial display that reflects the individual’s life. Include photographs, memorabilia, artwork, or personal items symbolising their passions, achievements, and interests. Consider creating a video montage or slideshow showcasing their life journey.

Step 6: Arrange for Special Touches
Consider incorporating special touches to make the service unique. These can include releasing balloons or doves, lighting candles, planting a tree in their memory, or creating a memory jar where attendees can leave handwritten notes or messages.

Step 7: Explore Alternative Forms of Disposition
If traditional burial doesn’t align with your loved one’s wishes or values, explore alternative forms of disposition and research options such as cremation, natural burial, or eco-friendly alternatives. Consult with funeral professionals who specialise in these practices to ensure your loved one’s wishes are respected.

Step 8: Share Funeral Details and Invite Attendees
Communicate the funeral details with family, friends, and other loved ones. Provide the service’s date, time, location, and any additional information or requests. Consider creating personalised invitations or utilising online platforms to share the details efficiently.

Step 9: Engage in Post-Funeral Activities
Consider hosting post-funeral activities that allow attendees to gather, share memories, and support one another, and this can be a simple gathering at a favourite restaurant, a picnic in the park, or any activity that reflects your loved one’s preferences.

Step 10: Reflect and Preserve Memories
Reflect on the funeral service and its impact on honouring your loved one’s life. Consider preserving memories by creating a memory book, photo album, or a digital memorial website where friends and family can contribute their memories and messages.

Remember, an essential aspect of creating a unique funeral service is honouring and celebrating your loved one’s life in a meaningful way to you and those who knew them best. By personalising the service, you create a lasting tribute.

The Cost of Funerals in New Zealand: Understanding the Financial Considerations

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, and arranging a funeral can add a layer of emotional and financial stress. In New Zealand, the cost of funerals can vary significantly depending on various factors. In this blog post, we will delve into funeral expenses in New Zealand, shedding light on the components contributing to the overall cost and providing insights on navigating this financially challenging time.

Understanding Funeral Expenses:

Funeral expenses include funeral director fees, burial or cremation fees, transportation, coffin or casket expenses, venue hire, catering, floral arrangements, and other miscellaneous expenses. It’s important to note that the overall cost can vary widely based on individual choices, cultural or religious customs, and regional price differences.

Factors Influencing Funeral Costs:

  1. Funeral Director Services: Funeral directors guide families through organizing and coordinating funeral arrangements. Their fees typically include services such as body preparation, transportation, liaising with relevant authorities, and overseeing the overall logistics.
  2. Burial or Cremation Fees: The choice between burial and cremation significantly impacts the cost. Burial costs include purchasing a plot, headstone, digging the grave, and ongoing maintenance fees. Cremation costs involve cremation, the use of the crematorium for a service or committal and the interment of ashes within the cemetery.
  3. Coffins and Caskets: The choice of coffin or casket can range from simple and affordable options to more elaborate and expensive ones. The materials, design, and craftsmanship can significantly influence the cost.
  4. Venue Hire and Miscellaneous Expenses: If a funeral service is held at a specific venue, there may be fees associated with its rental. Additional expenses may include printing memorial cards, celebrant/minister fees, and other personalized requests.

Navigating Funeral Costs:

  1. Plan Ahead: While it may be uncomfortable to think about, considering funeral expenses in advance can alleviate financial burdens for your loved ones. Pre-planning allows you to outline your wishes, explore different payment options, and lock in current prices.
  2. Seek Multiple Quotes: Funeral costs vary between providers, so obtaining quotes from different funeral directors is advisable. Comparing prices and services can help you make informed decisions based on your budget and preferences.
  3. Communicate Openly: Discussing funeral arrangements and finances with family members or close friends can clarify and ensure everyone is on the same page. Open communication can help avoid misunderstandings and prevent unexpected financial strains during a challenging time.
  4. Consider Financial Assistance: In some cases, financial assistance may help cover funeral costs. It’s worth exploring government support, charitable organizations, or funeral insurance policies that can provide financial relief.

Arranging a funeral is complex, and understanding the cost implications is essential to make informed decisions while considering your budgetary constraints. Funeral expenses in New Zealand can vary significantly depending on individual choices and circumstances. By familiarizing yourself with the various components of funeral costs and exploring pre-planning options, you can easily navigate this emotionally and financially challenging period. Remember, seeking support from loved ones and professional advisors can provide valuable guidance and ensure that the farewell to your loved one is carried out with the utmost care and respect while being mindful of your financial considerations.