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A death of a loved one is something people can be unprepared for. We are here to help guide and answer any questions you may have. Click on a question or topic below to reveal our response to the most frequently asked questions we receive. If you need to know more, send us an email and we'll respond as soon as possible.

  • When someone dies what do I do?
    • If you are caring for your loved one at home, notify your family doctor who will complete a medical cause of death certificate and cremation application if required. Nursing staff will do this on your behalf if your loved one is in a nursing facility. Let family members and close friends know. • Call a funeral director. During this call we will arrange a time with you to transfer your family member to our care. With your permission hospice/nursing staff can arrange the transfer also. If your loved one passes away at home, we can advise how best to care for them until our arrival. • Call the deceased’s solicitor, as there may be directions for the funeral stated in their Will.
  • What do I do when someone dies unexpectedly?
    • If a death is unexpected – whether it occurs at home or in a public place – for example, if the person died under anaesthetic, in an accident or cannot be identified – it may be referred by the police to the coroner’s office. • If the police are involved, they will contact the coroner’s funeral director to transport the deceased to the closest Hospital. If a postmortem is required, the deceased will be taken to the closest Hospital. • Once the coroner’s office confirms with you that the deceased can be released from coronial care, you are not obliged to use the coroner’s funeral director. At this point, if you would like our involvement, please contact us.
  • What does a funeral director do?
    After your first phone call, letting us know, we will: • Transfer your loved one into our care. • Gather with family to confirm funeral arrangements and take the personal details for the death registration and discuss a suitable time, day, and venue for the funeral. • Arrange the minister or celebrant for you if you don’t have one in mind. They will then meet with you to confirm the order of service, making sure it runs the way you would like it to. • Take note of your casket, flower and catering selections. • Insert newspaper notices as required. • Book cemetery plot or cremation. • Arrange RSA representation at the funeral if your loved one was an ex-service person. • Request clothes for your loved one to wear. We will need all outerwear as well as the underwear and shoes that would have been worn by your loved one. • Care, dress and present your loved one for viewing in the casket of your choice. A recent photo would be helpful to help us with grooming. • Time for a viewing at our chapel or wherever you prefer – this is time for you to say your goodbyes in private. • Organise music, video, and photos to use at the funeral. • Prepare the signing pages for people to sign at the funeral service. • Book service to reflect what we have discussed at the arrangement meeting. • Book and complete forms for either burial or cremation – depending on your choice. • Arrange an estimate of the funeral costs. • Lodge with the department of internal affairs the registration of death and order a copy of the death certificate. At this time, we will also discover any special things that will make the service unique to you and your family.
  • Is it important to see the deceased?
    We think it is important, if you can, to make your goodbyes with your loved one’s body still present, but it is a personal choice. It is called a viewing when, before a funeral, family, and friends, including children, spend time with someone who has died. A viewing can be a positive and precious experience. It can be a time to place mementos such as cards, letters, small gifts, photos, flowers, and other significant objects in the casket. Grief counsellors say a viewing – like a funeral – is important in helping process the reality of death and to work through grief. Sometimes just sitting with a closed casket and reflecting is a positive experience. If you’re not sure whether viewing is right for you.
  • Is embalming needed?
    Embalming does not have to be used for everyone – some people require more intervention than others to be hygienically preserved after death. Factors ranging from the weather to recently used medicines can impact how well the body can be preserved. Our experienced embalmers have found that embalming best preserves someone’s dignity and allows the family the time needed for a viewing and to say goodbyes.
  • What happens if someone we know dies in NZ and needs to be transported back to their country?
    Repatriation is taking home the body or the remains of someone who has died away from their home. Southern Funeral Home services have dealt with a lot of repatriation over the years. We offer a complete worldwide repatriation service to all parts of NZ or overseas which include. • Removal of the deceased • Embalming • Correct casket for transportation • Air transportation As this is a process that can be very involved, we need to be contacted as soon as possible so we can start planning to make this as quickly and efficiently as we can.
  • Compassionate Airfares - Can we get discounted airfares to attend a funeral out of town?
    Air New Zealand offer compassionate airfares to immediate family members. This is only available for travel within New Zealand - whether you are coming to us for a funeral or need to go to a funeral in another part of the country. As this usually needs to be arranged only a few days prior to the funeral often the airfares are at the higher price. These airfares offer a reduction on full or higher priced fares but does not apply to some of the lower priced fairs that are below the compassionate airfare level. After the service, the family member applies for a refund supplying the necessary documentation. Air New Zealand requires the need for prior approval before you send in the formal application. This means you must phone the refunds team on 0800 733 6837 with your booking or ticket reference number. The Air New Zealand refund staff will then advise you if there is likely to be a partial refund to the airfare if it is below the compassionate fare level. If you are entitled to a partial refund, you then need to fill in the form provided (by your funeral director from New Zealand) and fax or mail it to the refunds processing team at Air New Zealand. We can assist you by sending letters to Air New Zealand verifying the funeral details of your loved one.
  • Financial Assistance and Grants
    As times have changed, so have the requirements of individual families. As professional funeral directors, we have embraced these changes and as a result endeavour to do all we can to facilitate family requests, however different they may be. • Work and Income Funeral Grant – A funeral grant can help pay for some of the costs when someone close to you has died. We can assist you in this area by guiding you through the necessary channels to apply for this grant. • ACC Funeral Grant – If a sudden death happens from an accident or injury, ACC can help toward this cost. This can be paid out for both New Zealander’s and overseas visitors to New Zealand.
  • Popular Funeral Songs
    Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman – Time to Say Goodbye Jim Reeves – I Love You Because Elton John – Candle in the Wind; Circle of Life Simon and Garfunkel – Sound of Silence; Bridge Over Troubled Water Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On; Fly Rod Stewart – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You; Sailing Bryan Adams – Right Here Waiting For You Sarah McLachlan – In the Arms of an Angel Robbie Williams – Angels Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven Sting – Fields of Gold Richard Clayderman – From A Distance James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover; You’re Beautiful Charlotte Church – When at Night I Go To Sleep; Pie Jesu KD Lang - Hallelujah Joshua Kaddison – Beautiful In My Eyes Ronan Keating – If Tomorrow Never Comes Bob Dylan – Forever Young; Blowing in the Wind Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World Beatles – Let It Be Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings Frank Sinatra – My Way REM – Everybody Hurts John Lennon - Imagine Bread - Everything I Own Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven Gerry & the Pacemakers – You’ll Never Walk Alone Cold Play – Fix You Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again; Now is the Hour Green Day – Time of Your Life Dragon - Rain Barbara Streisand – Memory Hayley Westenra – Heaven; Hine e Hine Sir Howard Morrison – How Great Thou Art Murray Grindlay – Southern Man Daniel O’Donnell – Danny Boy Foo Fighters – My Hero Jim Reeves – Adios Amigo Nat King Cole – Unforgettable Foster and Allen – One Day at a Time Michael Crawford – The Music of the Night U2 - With or Without You Israel K – Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bee Gees - First of May Jud Arthur – You’ll Never Walk Alone Shihad - Only Time James Galway – Essential Flute Photograph – Ed Sheeran When We Were Young – Adele Classical: Vivaldi; Bach; Strauss; Handel; Mozart; Puccini; Beethoven; Pachelbel
  • List of Quotes for Notices and Memorials
    What we keep in memory is ours forever Till we meet again Together again Life is not forever – love is Memories remain forever Gone from our sight, but not our memories Gone from our home, but not our hearts. Always remembered Sunshine passes, shadows fall, love and memories outlive all Forever in our hearts A brave fighter at rest Remembered with love Time to rest. Thoughts today, memories forever Remembering you, as time goes by Sadly missed, lovingly remembered. Always in our thoughts, forever in our hearts. Forever remembered, forever missed. Love’s greatest gift - Mum Loved always, sadly missed. A little tribute, small and tender, just to say we still remember The tears in my eyes I can wipe away, the ache in my heart will always stay Tenderly we treasure the past, with memories that will always last. As you were, you will always be, treasured forever in our memory. Mum holds her children’s hands for a while, their hearts forever Remembering you on this day, comforted by so many memories. Though absent you are very near, still loved, still missed, and very dear. In the hearts of those who loved you, you will always be there. A page in our book of memories, is gently turned today Dearer still as the years depart, he lives forever in my heart. Your beauty is missed in every way. “Forever in our hearts” Mum, we treasure still, with love sincere, beautiful memories of one so dear. There is a link death cannot sever, love and remembrance last forever. Silent memories true and tender, just to show we still remember The Lord watch between thee and me, while we are absent one from the other. You still live on in the hearts and minds, of the loving family you left behind. A garden of beautiful memories, sprayed with a million tears. Beautiful memories are treasured ever, of happy days when we were together. Love with a love beyond all feeling, missed with a grief beyond all tears. His memory is as dear today, as in the hour he passed away. Memories are like threads of gold, they never tarnish or grow old. He laboured hard for those he loved, then left us to remember Wherever I go, whatever I do, memories keep me near to you I lost my best, my dearest friend, dear Mum when I lost you. Gentle, unselfish, a friend ever true, my best possession, Mother, was you. While you, dear Mother, rest and sleep, your loving memory we’ll always keep I keep in my heart the love of the past, for there it was planted forever to last. Together in the same old way, would be my dearest wish today. Loved with a love beyond telling, missed with a grief beyond all tears. Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His loving breasts. Sweet little flower of heavenly birth, she was too fair to bloom on earth No length of time can take away, my thought of you today.

Caring for families of Southland & Otago

Facilitating your farewell wishes, with compassion and care, in a warm and peaceful atmosphere

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