You certainly can – we have attended some beautiful services in family homes. It is a familiar environment, and people can stay for a cup of tea and story sharing afterwards. Really it does depend on how many people the home can accommodate and ease of access. We try and look for a local facility, such as a boating club, or community hall, if the numbers attending are too many for the home.

Although the common current practice in New Zealand is to routinely embalm (approximately 90% of people are embalmed), the answer is that no, embalming is often not required. Here at State of Grace we try to avoid unnecessary embalming, and offer a choice of either keeping the deceased person in their home using icepacks discreetly tucked around the body, or by keeping the person in our cool room. We have found that both of these methods have been very successful.

Occasionally we do make the decision, with the family, to embalm. This is often because of any physical challenges with the body such as unpleasant emissions or odours, or because they wish to keep the deceased at home for a long period of time. We discuss the options with each family, and make these decisions together on a case by case basis.

With a small, intimate family gathering, it may be that a family member is confident to co-ordinate the service but with a large funeral the responsibility is huge in terms of time-keeping, ensuring that people have an opportunity to speak, keeping a flow within the ceremony etc, and this is where a trained celebrant is invaluable. The celebrant will spend time with your family, gathering stories and getting to know you.

We have a list of celebrants.

We have white hearses that we can provide but you are welcome to use your own vehicle, providing it is large enough! In the past, some families have used their own van, highly decorated! Or with one family, the grandson used his prized ute and took his Grandad for a spin around the block before arriving at the crematorium!

Yes you can make a casket, but we recommend that you contact us, or any funeral director, before you make it, as there are certain requirements with size etc that must be adhered to. We can certainly advise you on suitable materials etc to use. Some crematoriums have recently refused to accept home-made caskets, so please check with us.

For cremation, the body must be in a casket, or on a shroud bearer that has a solid base. Please see our casket page.

While at home, the deceased may be kept in their own bed, but must be in a casket for the cremation or burial. The casket may be kept open at the service.

We have seen a huge variety in clothes! A couple of people insisted on remaining naked, plenty of people go in their pyjamas, some in their gardening or comfy clothes, and others dress up to the nines with everything else in between. The choice is yours.

We encourage families to write letters, small momentos, little artworks from younger children. The crematoriums require that no metal, glass or alcohol is placed in the casket. There are no restrictions for a burial (within reason).

Yes, the crematoriums are scrupulously clean, and the ashes that you receive are only from the person that you had cremated, plus their casket. There are urban myths surrounding cremation including that the caskets are opened, and valuable things taken etc. We can assure you that the crematoriums are run in a very professional manner, and incidents of this nature would not occur.

Generally we will be wanting to cool the body as quickly as possible so we transfer them from our stretcher to a bed in the cool room. We check in regularly to ensure all is okay. If family are visiting we wash the body with essential oils, wash hair, and dress them in whatever clothing the family has provided, and then set them up in our viewing room where family are welcome to visit, make a cup of tea, and spend time. If family are not visiting, we would generally wash and dress the body the day before the funeral.

Family are of course welcome to participate in any of this preparation.

We pride ourselves on transparency and honesty and have always listed our costs for all services – you can find them here.

There is assistance from WINZ for low-income families. The grant is currently set at a maximum of $2,058.52. We cannot apply for this grant on your behalf, but have the necessary paperwork for you. In the case of an accidental death ACC may have assistance depending on the circumstances. Ask us about this.

There are several forms required and we fill these in with you and ensure that they are given to the right people. We fill in a form registering the death, and this is sent in the day of the funeral. You will receive the Death Certificate from Births Deaths and Marriages up to ten working days after this.

If you have any further questions please contact us