Funeral FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

It is only natural to be curious about what happens at a funeral home or when meeting a funeral director. If we haven’t answered a question however, please contact your local NZIFH member who will be happy to assist you.


How do I know that the funeral home I choose is the right one?
By choosing a NZIFH member, you can be assured of high quality service during a difficult time. NZIFH members believe in the motto, “Setting the Standard” in the funeral industry. NZIFH follow strict rules which are governed by the group.

What sort of information will the Funeral Director require?
In order to register the death your Funeral Director must present the Registrar General of Births Deaths and Marriages with specific information. This includes full name and address, occupation, place of birth, details of current and any previous marriages, ages of living children, and details about the deceased’s parents.

In addition, your Funeral Director will ask your preferences regarding the venue and type of service, whether your instruction is for a burial or cremation, the type of casket you wish to choose, and a variety of other questions which are designed to provide a service most suited to the deceased and the bereaved family.

Do we get to choose what happens at the service?
There is ‘no one size fits all’ about funerals these days. There are many opportunities to personalise the service and to make it one of signifigance. Your Funeral Director can advise on options and ideas based on his/her experience and knowledge of the practicalities involved. The content of the actual service is usually worked out between the family and the minister or celebrant. Please discuss your ideas and requests with your Funeral Director.

Should children attend a funeral service?
Children, like adults, need to go through a grieving process. Like adults, children learn that death is a part of life. Depending on the age of the child it is well worthwhile for parents or caregivers to talk with the children about death before it occurs. This helps to minimise the shock when it happens. The choice of whether children should attend the funeral may depend on the age of the child and the relationship with the deceased. In general we advise that children should attend.

Who chooses between burial and cremation?
When the wishes of the deceased are known they are usually followed. If there is a will, the executor and/or the family will generally make that decision. Depending on which part of the country you live in, there may be considerable cost differences between burial and cremation. Your funeral director can advise you on the options.

Is embalming necessary?
Embalming ensures disinfection and preservation during the funeral period, and most funeral directors consider it necessary for this reason. Embalming ensures a more natural appearance and removes any potential health issues, which is particularly important if viewing of the deceased is to take place. There are different preparation options available now – your funeral director can discuss these with you.

Should I view the deceased?
Funeral Directors know from experience that many people, who are hesitant at first, later say how much they were helped in the grieving process by spending some time with the deceased prior to the funeral. For many people effective grieving and the subsequent readjustment cannot take place until it has been accepted that a loved one has died. In our experience viewing helps this acceptance, particularly if the death has been sudden or unexpected.

What is meant by the term “viewing”?
This means that the coffin is open so mourners can see the body of the deceased. The funeral director can provide private rooms for viewing, or will arrange for the body to be taken home or to a marae.

Is the coffin always cremated?
Yes. During a cremation the casket is cremated too. Most crematoria in New Zealand are owned by the local municipal authority, and cremation procedures are set by law. Many NZIFH funeral homes have there own crematorium.