THE FUNERAL SERVICE|
Over time customs and rituals have evolved. Those that remain with us today are the ones that have proven to offer the most comfort and support. The funeral is a final opportunity for family and friends to publicly express their love and respect for the deceased. If it is arranged carefully and sensitively so that it reflects the feelings and fulfils the needs of everyone attending, then it can be enormously beneficial in helping people come to terms with their loss.
The funeral represents the first and most important step towards working through one's grief and readjusting to life. Its significant therapeutic value is widely recognised. From a practical point of view, the funeral ensures the legal, reverent and dignified burial or cremation of the deceased.
The funeral director's most important role is to make all the relevant arrangements prior to conducting the funeral on the day. The funeral director works with the minister or celebrant to ensure that any of the family's special requests (e.g. regarding music, flowers, photos, candles) have been met by the time of the funeral service.
The funeral director will discuss with family members about whether they would like an audiovisual presentation. The funeral director will also arrange for the collection of photos and the music to be used. The minister or celebrant is ultimately responsible for what happens in the funeral ceremony itself. This usually involves working with family members to:
plan the format of the funeral service;
decide who will deliver the eulogy - family member(s) or a close personal friend;
select music, reading or poetry for during the service;
decide on the use of other symbols such as candles, flowers and photos as required;
discuss the content of the printed service sheets; and
schedule the audiovisual presentation (if any) in the service.
When to hold the funeral is entirely up to you. Some people believe three days after death is the correct timing; however, in law there is no set time. Given the many matters to consider in arranging a modern funeral, it is not uncommon for a funeral to be held five to seven days after death. If necessary it can be held still later to allow people coming from overseas to attend. We can assure you it is far better not to rush the planning of a funeral. Allowing more time helps you to make clearer decisions. When people are rushed they may forget or overlook matters, leading to regrets afterwards.
BURIAL OR CREMATION?
During your first contact with Hope and Sons, our funeral director will ask you whether the person who has died wished to be buried or cremated. The choice - burial or cremation - determines which kind of medical certificate we are legally required to obtain.
Hope and Sons arranges all the details for the final resting place and maintains extensive records about most cemeteries in the region.
Cemetery plot search and location are a specialty of ours. Burials can be arranged in any cemetery, either in existing graves or in new plots. We provide a grave marker in the form of a white cross when a new plot is purchased.
In New Zealand, cremation is now a widely accepted alternative to burial. Hope and Sons attend to all the formalities for cremation. In Dunedin the cremation will generally take place on the day of the funeral and the ashes become available within 48 hours. The family can then decide what will happen with the ashes - they can be scattered, buried or divided by the local authority, the funeral director or the family. We can assist in sending ashes to other destinations in New Zealand and overseas.
Key information on cremation
Only one cremation takes place at a time: one casket and one person are cremated. This means you can be assured that the cremated ashes are only those of your loved one. Every person is cremated in a casket - due to the nature of the process all the wood completely disappears and the ashes returned are purely human remains.
A casket is cremated as you see it; some crematoria will remove the handles prior to cremation to assist with control of emission standards.
You may have seen the wording, 'followed by private cremation' in funeral notices. This refers to the time when the hearse moves off from the funeral service accompanied by either no one or family members only. The choice of whether you wish to travel to the crematorium is always up to you. Ashes are often buried with a memorial for family to visit.
The Dunedin and Otago region is home to many different cultures and religions. We have established strong relationships over many years with a wide range of community groups, so you can be assured that we will do everything we can to accommodate your own community practices and protocols. Given that many of these community groups are small, we have often become good friends as well as the trusted funeral directors within them.
CLERGY OR CELEBRANT?
Hope and Sons can recommend a funeral celebrant or is happy to contact a member of the clergy to lead the service. Funeral celebrants can provide a service that is appropriate to the needs and cultural beliefs of the family. We are willing to recommend someone we feel is suitable for you.
If you are wishing to use a celebrant,
you may find it helpful to meet with them before the person has died, if possible. In this way the celebrant has an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the person's preferences in regard to the funeral service.
If you are a member of a religious denomination, your priest or minister is likely be the obvious person to conduct the funeral service. You may wish to inform the priest or minister that a death has occurred. The funeral director usually makes contact with them to confirm the date and time of the funeral and maintains contact with them leading up to the funeral.
Many people find it helpful to spend time with the person who has died before the funeral. This special time is an opportunity to say goodbye. Our tastefully decorated modern lounges, the Gold, Fern and Rose rooms are adjacent to the chapel for families who wish to visit.
This time together can assist in the grieving process as it allows people to begin to accept the reality of the death of the person. It can be a time to place mementos such as cards, letters, small gifts, photos, flowers and other significant objects in the casket with the person. Some families choose to take the person home or to another venue, and they will spend some days with the person who has died.
We are happy to make the arrangements that fit with your wishes and that are at a time suitable to all family members. Children benefit from being included in the preparations for a funeral. Visiting, seeing and touching someone they love can be a positive experience as it allows them to say goodbye and helps them to accept the reality and finality of death. Historically children were not involved in the funeral process. Today most experts would agree that children should have the same opportunity to view the person who had died and to attend the funeral if they so wish. We encourage visiting at Hope and Sons between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. You are welcome to visit outside these hours by organising a convenient time with your funeral director.
Mortuary services - caring for the dead
The care and respect that Hope and Sons gives to the person who has died begins from the time they are transferred into our care. All our funeral team are fully trained in conducting the transfer in a dignified and caring manner whether the place of death is in a private home, hospital or more public place. This standard of care continues right through the entire process of the funeral preparations.
When you advise us of the death we will ask you whether we are able to carry out our normal preparations. At this stage we are seeking your verbal approval for us to begin embalming. We have a team of qualified embalmers who take care of the preparation of the person who has died. At all times the person is handled as if family members are present; with full dignity and care.
We attach a great deal of significance to the preparation for a viewing; the dressing and grooming are a very important part of this process. The end result of mortuary care is that the deceased person is presented in a safe, clean and hygienic way.
Hope and Sons is proud of its high standard of service for the repatriation of the deceased person to any other centre in New Zealand or any other country in the world. We have a modern mortuary and professionally qualified embalmers available to meet the exacting standards required by transportation authorities. We are skilled in attending to all documentation required.
As part of our care and respect for a deceased person, we have developed various options to allow for 'light embalming', which limits the amount of chemicals used in the embalming process. We use New Zealand-made Eco products for washing the person who has died. Alternatively we offer the choice of no embalming. There are no legal or mandatory requirements in New Zealand for embalming. We will be pleased to talk about the consequences of any choices for the funeral that you are organising and the full range of options available. For more information on eco funerals, see www.ecofunerals.co.nz or request a brochure from our office.
CLOTHING AND DRESSING
Before you spend time with the person who has died, we will ask you to bring in the clothing you would like them to be dressed in. When deciding on the clothing to be worn, remember to include all undergarments. We will normally dress the person and place them in the casket. On some occasions, in accordance with cultural considerations or personal wishes, the family may choose to either dress the person who has died or assist us in this process.
SYMBOLS, MUSIC AND FLOWERS
Using carefully chosen symbols in a funeral service can enhance the significant aspects of a person's life, and help create a very personal atmosphere for the service. Photos and flowers add to the ambience as well.
You may wish to consider the following as possible symbols to include in the
Candles are generally recognised as a universal symbol of love, light and hope. candle lighting during the service is always a poignant ritual.
A flag draped over a coffin, the playing of the last post, and the red poppies used in the returned services tribute speak to us of a person's
Contribution to his or her country.
A flag may be symbolic of the person's country of birth.
Academic, sporting or community achievement awards tell us of other achievements in a person's life.
Art, craft, other artefacts and hobbies show additional dimensions of the person whose life is being honoured.
Music speaks to our hearts - especially in a funeral service. The music selected and the way it is used usually set the emotional tone of the service. Music can be played from a CD or iPod you supply, or from our extensive music collection. Choirs, singers and soloists can also be arranged for a service if you wish.
We can arrange flowers for the funeral, on your behalf, from a professional florist. Families are welcome to use a florist or provide flowers of their own choice. We are happy to recommend a florist. You can usually choose a favourite flower or combination of flowers and colours for a casket spray, single flowers, or a bunch of flowers tied with ribbon. Some people have used baskets of vegetables, sports equipment or other goods to personalise the floral tribute.
Although the tradition has been for friends to send flowers, some families prefer to invite them to make a donation to a particular charity or community service in memory of the person who has died. If you choose this option we will ensure that a box for donations is available at the service and that the money collected is delivered to the organisation after the funeral.
Offering refreshments after a funeral is regarded as an important aspect of the funeral service. This is a time for meeting up with family members and friends, sharing stories and recalling in greater detail the life of the person who has died. Sometimes it is also an opportunity for a family reunion. Adjacent to the chapel we have a delightful reception lounge with a homely atmosphere to cater for families wishing to have morning or afternoon tea after the funeral service. Hope and Sons Reception Lounge is air conditioned and has a fully equipped modern kitchen. A hostess ensures that functions run smoothly, relieving families of this burden, and arranges for everything to be provided for you. Please ask for a pamphlet outlining catering options.
Catering can be provided at other venues. You can talk to us about the style of food to be provided. Some church groups also offer to cater for funerals; where they do, we are
happy to assist in any way.
Families who wish to choose a casket can visit and select from our range of caskets on display. You can also visit the Ecofunerals website to view some of the options: www.ecofunerals.co.nz
Caskets or coffins?
What's the difference? Coffin is the term that has traditionally been used in England
and refers to a shaped casket that is wider at the shoulders and more pointed at the
feet. A casket is an oblong (rectangle) shape and commonly seen in the United States of
America. In New Zealand we use casket to describe both shapes as it is seen as a more modern and less oppressive word. Children's caskets are either oblong or shaped.
They may be supplied as natural radiata pine or painted in the traditional white; however we can arrange for them to be painted in any colour you wish. We provide a variety of caskets including solid timber or particleboard/MDF. We also stock American-style caskets. The finish of the caskets can be: solid oak, rimu or pine, oak and maple vinyl veneers or painted in any colour you choose. There is also a range of caskets available with vinyl transfers that you may choose if they reflect the personality of the person who has died.
Untreated radiata pine caskets are available from a renewable resource that supports our local economy. Some modern-style caskets have also been produced based on environmentally friendly principles.
Hope and Sons offers a modern fleet of purpose-built hearses as part of our service to clients and their families. Cars to convey families to funerals can be arranged.
Other options available to you...
In addition to the modern hearses, we have several other options for you to choose from, including a vintage hearse and a classic hearse.
1926 Chrysler 60|
As a centennial project in 1987, the company restored a 1926 Chrysler hearse, one of the original motor hearses of Dunedin. It is now available for funeral use and was the first vintage hearse available for this purpose in our region.
1961 Dodge Seneca
The Dodge, one of six imported to New Zealand new in 1961, was the firm's main hearse in Dunedin between 1961 and 1973. In 2009 we added an identical vehicle (from Auckland) and the Dodge is now fully restored to near its original condition. It is a lovely choice for a traditional-style funeral.
Click photo to see Urn range
After the funeral - the ashes
As part of the process of planning a cremation with you, Hope and Sons will discuss the options available for the scattering or burial of ashes. Attendance at the burial of ashes is welcomed and encouraged. We can also assist with the scattering of ashes or with returning them to another centre or overseas. Following a cremation, the cremated remains (commonly referred to as ashes) are returned to the funeral home in a plain cardboard container. This box is suitable for storage if you are choosing to scatter the ashes at a later date. If you wish to keep the cremated remains at home or if you wish to bury them, you may choose to have them placed in a more attractive and decorative urn.
Our urns are similar to the casket range. An urn can be made of solid wood or particleboard/MDF, painted the same colour as the casket, or given a vinyl veneer transfer to match the casket. Alternatively it may be resin, slate or metal based. There are many other designs and materials that you can see at our offices. You may also choose to supply your own container into which we will transfer the ashes.
We will assist you to write a notice for the newspaper if you would like us to.
Below is an example of what you may wish to consider.
Smith, Robert Henry (Rob) Regt No 7564,
Sgt, 2nd NZEF - on 24 June 2009
Peacefully at home, aged 87 years.
Dearly loved husband of...
Loved and respected father and father-in-law of...
Much loved grandfather of...
Loved brother and brother-in-law of...
Loved by his nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to the hospice staff who cared for Rob over the past
months. Your support has been greatly appreciated. (You may wish
to thank specific people who have been outstanding in their help to
you and your family.)
Rob's funeral service will be held in Hope and Sons Chapel, corner
Andersons Bay Road and Oxford Street, Dunedin at 11.00 am on
Tuesday 30 June followed by a private cremation.
In lieu of flowers, donations to ABC charity, PO Box 12-345, Dunedin
would be appreciated. (If you would like people to send flowers, do
not include the statement about donations.)
Messages to the Smith family may be left in Rob's tribute book at
www.tributes.co.nz or posted c/- PO Box 5013, Dunedin 9058. (If you
are concerned for security reasons to use your residential address
you can use our PO Box number and we will forward mail to you as
If you are using pall bearers, it is best that you approach these people prior to the funeral service. Many friends will be honoured to assist you by helping carry the casket at the funeral. Asking for this kind of assistance may also be a useful way to incorporate service clubs that the person was a member of, or to involve cousins, nephews and nieces. The usual way to carry the casket in New Zealand is at 'arms length'. The method of carrying it up on the shoulder, although common in some other countries, tends to be reserved for full military or VIP funerals. However, there is no reason why it cannot be done in this way if that is what the family chooses. Regardless of which method is used, it is preferable for six people to be available as pall bearers.
In most circumstances families use their own vehicles to get to the funeral service. However we can provide cars or arrange to hire suitable cars if required.
EX SERVICE PERSONNEL
The local RSA is happy to attend and conduct a Returned Services tribute for any service person who has died. We will play the Last Post if you would like these traditions to be part of the ceremony. A flag may be draped over the casket and medals may be displayed on a cushion. In addition, poppies can be supplied to those wishing to come
forward and place them on top of the casket during this ceremony. Service personnel and their spouses are entitled to be buried in a subsidised plot in most cemeteries. The plaque or headstone on these graves is also subsidised by the New Zealand Government. If you do not know the service details of the person who has died, we are
able to obtain these details from Personnel Archives at the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the family.
DESIGN AND PRINTING
Service sheets (orders of service) may be printed for handing out at the funeral service.
Families are encouraged to be involved in setting out and designing the personalised service sheets for the funeral. We can produce quality colour service sheets and photo enlargements. We will advise you as to how soon we need the details so that everything is ready in time for the funeral.
Thank you cards
Bereavement or thank you cards may feature the photo from the service sheets and can be printed for you to send out after the funeral. These cards can be a nice way of acknowledging the support of family and friends following a death.
'Memories' Photo Book
A 'Memories' photo book is produced from every slideshow we create. It is your permanent record of all the photographs gathered for the funeral service, bound in a specially designed hand-crafted cover. Additional copies can be provided.
Hope and Sons offers a range of audiovisual services both for making presentations as part of the funeral service and recording the service as a permanent record.
Slideshows and photo presentations
We can create a slideshow on a DVD to be played through TV screens or beam a slideshow of photos to reflect the life of your loved one onto a wall or screen. Such a presentation can be a meaningful way to share more memories and highlights of a life. It can be shown before or during the funeral, accompanied by your own special music.
If you simply provide us with your photos, we will create a slideshow for the funeral whether it is in our chapel or at another venue.
Video and DVD recordings
We can arrange for an audiovisual recording of the funeral service. It is also a means of sharing the service with relatives or friends who were unable to be there on the day. We can record with our static in-house cameras or utilise the skills of a professional video operator.
A Livestream is a live video broadcast of a funeral over the internet from Hope and Sons Chapel, Dunedin, New Zealand. It means you can watch and hear the funeral from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and high-speed internet connection. The broadcast begins about 15 minutes before the start of the service. Funerals are only broadcast with the permission of the family.
If you would like to know who has attended the funeral, you may find it useful to have a
memorial book for people to sign. We do our best to ensure that everyone signs the book either as they arrive for the funeral service or before they leave. Hope and Sons has a specially designed Tribute Book, a unique lasting memento that is presented to you afterwards, as a gift. Additional copies can be provided on request. An online memorial for your loved ones
Publishing a photo on the Tributes website is a fitting way to remember someone close to you, who has died. We can place a photo, along with the funeral notice and the details of the funeral service, add tributes sent to you or contributed at the funeral service; and provide information for family and friends wanting to send flowers or
make donations. Family and friends can read and place messages in a specially designed
Every funeral arranged by Hope and Sons will be posted on the Tributes
website at no extra cost for one year.
HEADSTONES AND PLAQUES
Memorials and the monumental work
Hope and Sons can provide advice and assistance regarding the selection and purchase of granite, brass, bronze and Returned Services plaques. We can arrange for new headstones and memorials and the addition of inscriptions and refurbishment of existing monuments.
After the funeral Hope and Sons electronically registers the death of the person who has died. Following this online registration, Births, Deaths and Marriages processes it and posts the death certificate to us, usually within five to ten working days. We forward the death certificate directly to you or to the solicitor who is dealing with the estate. We are legally required to include certain information when registering a death. We obtain this information from you while making the funeral arrangements with you. It is important that this information is accurate as far as possible. If the death has been referred to the Coroner, you will notice the words 'subject to coroner's findings' in the cause of death section. This means that the official cause of death was not available at the time we registered the death. It is possible to update the death certificate once the Coroner has concluded his or her enquiries and ascertained the cause of death.
The funeral account
Every funeral invoice from Hope and Sons is individualised. It will generally include professional service fees, mortuary services, vehicle transfers, and a casket. Other items may be included and will be itemised such as: crematorium and cemetery fees, ashes and memorial fees, doctor's fees, newspaper notices, flowers, printing, catering, a death certificate, gratuities and donations, multimedia and audiovisual, and monumental options.
With every funeral we will give you an estimate of the costs of the funeral that you have arranged with your funeral director.
The payment due date
After the funeral we wait up to 10 days before sending the itemised funeral account to the address that you have indicated as appropriate. The due date for payment, which will be indicated on the invoice, will be about six weeks from the day of the funeral or from when the services are rendered. We will remind you 10 days prior to the due date.
An account service fee is added to every account. If the invoice is paid by the due date, this fee will be deducted.
Failure to make payments by the due date may result in additional recovery
costs and recovery steps being taken.
Hope and Sons offers a full range of services to accommodate most budgets. Please ring
us to discuss your specific requirements. We can advise on the range of assistance available for families requiring help with funeral costs. Assistance and advice can be given on the closing of bank accounts and applications for funeral grants from Work and Income and the Accident Compensation Corporation.
Some airlines operating in New Zealand offer compassionate airfares to immediate family members travelling to a funeral. You should check with the airline you are travelling on whether the ticket you are travelling on is able to be discounted in this way. If a discount is possible, we can supply you with a supporting letter from
To write our supporting letter we need the following:
the full names of the people travelling
proof of your relationship to the person who has died
travel departure point and destination
a booking reference number and ticket number.
Probate (a term coming from a Latin word meaning 'proof') is the procedure by which the courts recognise a will as authentic. The executors of the will must obtain probate from the court so that they have authority to deal with assets (and liabilities) of the person who has died and to enable distribution of the estate in accordance with the will.
The Registrar of the High Court carries out probate after receiving an application from the executors. This task involves establishing that it was in fact the testator (the maker of the will) who died, that the will was properly signed and attested, and that executors have been appointed. For advice on estate matters we would recommend that you contact your solicitor or an organisation such as the Public Trust.