Check list for ‘greening’ the funeral – a handy reference for planning a funeral or for discussion with your local funeral director.
Care of your loved one’s body
The four main choices are:
- To keep your loved one’s body at home using ice packs and natural methods
- To use a coolroom at the funeral director’s premises
- To request a temporary embalm (reduced use of chemicals)
- To request a full embalm (some companies are using an eco-embalm solution).
Eco-choices in caskets range from a simple cardboard casket at approximately $400, right up to a beautiful handwoven willow casket which is $1950. There are many options in between including a calico shroud from $450, a silk shroud and bearer for $1250, and a solid timber casket (macrocarpa or pine, from $1950). View these on our Caskets page.
If you wish to make your own casket, please ask us or any funeral director before you do this to check on dimensions and suitable materials as some crematoriums are now refusing to accept home-made caskets.
Most crematoriums have a Chapel available for a funeral. If the funeral is a small, family one consider having the service at a family home. Community facilities such as boat clubs or the local hall can be ideal venues for a funeral. Consider finding a venue that is meaningful for the person who has died, and remember to take practical issues into account such as parking, ease of access and whether a venue is appropriate for having a cup of tea afterwards.
We recommend that you use a professionally trained celebrant, as we do. Ask us for a recommendation, or contact Mary Hancock at www.celebrant.school.nz
Cremation or burial?
Choices are fairly limited in Auckland – there is an eco-burial area at Waikumete with but this is now full. We remain optimistic that a Natural Burial site will be opening here within 2 years – keep an eye on our website for updates or go to www.naturalburials.co.nz. We feel that cremating an unembalmed body in an eco-casket is the best option in Auckland at present.
Consider asking friends to bring a plate of special food to share after the service – not only does this cut down costs, but it also gives people a chance to be involved and to help in some way. We do have trusted caterers who we are happy to recommend if you prefer.
Remember that flowers are normally sprayed. Ask friends and family to bring something from their own garden. If you are having flowers or petals for people to place on the casket, consider using home-grown flowers, less expensive, and more personal. Also a basket of lavender or rosemary can be brought from your own garden. Native ferns and other foliage can beautify a room very quickly. We highly recommend Titirangi Fairy Flowers, phone 817 3780 – they are our preferred florist.
Keep the notice brief but loving and to the point as they can be very costly. Newspapers also provide an online tribute option which enables people to place a tribute from anywhere in the world.
Does anyone in your network have a large stationwagon or van that you would prefer to use.
Visit your local bookstore and purchase a blank paper album or book, add some photos to personalise it. There are some gorgeous books available at Trade Aid stores. We have a range of beautiful, handmade books made specifically for use at a funeral.
These can be so easily prepared by family – add some special photos, a verse, a message . Many of our families are choosing to make a beautiful bookmark, with photos, or a verse, and often a favourite family recipe photocopied in the person’s own handwriting! Your funeral director can create these for you if it feels just too hard, but there is almost always someone in a family circle who can do this.
Generally a couple of tracks are chosen – some music to play for 20 minutes or so while people are arriving, a track to play during the reflection time in the ceremony, and something to play at the end of the service. You could also think about asking a musician to play for the service.
A really lovely way for people to place the life of the deceased in context – make up a board of photos from throughout their life . You can place this anywhere, but it is good to place it on the table near the memorial book so that people can look at the photos and then write their thoughts.
Can be either kept, buried in a purchased plot at a cemetery, or scattered in a place significant to family. Any ashes being taken overseas require a cremation export certificate, so do ask your funeral director to ensure you get one with the ashes.