FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Your first call - either the Police, or a FDANZ Funeral Director
Who to call when someone has died depends on the circumstances of the death, and where the death occurred. The most important step is to confirm the death and for an appropriate medical professional to ascertain the cause of the death. After this step, the funeral director of your choice can arrange transport of the person to their funeral home, arrange after-care and await your further instructions.
- Death at a hospital or similar institution
If the death happened at a hospital the medical staff will confirm the death and either determine the cause of death or involve the Coroner if they are unable to determine the cause of death or if there are any suspicious circumstances. As the grieving family, your first call should be to a FDANZ Funeral Director who can talk you through the next stages.
- Death at rest home or similar location
If the death was not unexpected, the rest home is likely to call their on-call doctor/medical professional to confirm death and document the cause of death. If the death was unexpected, suspicious or the cause of death cannot be determined, the rest home may call the Police who act as the Coroner’s agent. As the grieving family, your first call should be to a FDANZ Funeral Director who can talk you through the next stages.
- Death at home or in a public space
If the death was expected, a doctor/medical professional still has to confirm death and document the cause of death. This is most often facilitated by your funeral director who will liaise with the family’s doctor and arrange transport for the body to the doctor’s premise for the examination. Not many doctors visit the home for this purpose anymore. If the death was unexpected, or you have any concerns, please call the Police.
- Death while overseas
If a New Zealand resident dies overseas, your Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors can help you understand the options in regards arranging for the person’s body or ashes to be repatriated (brought back to New Zealand).
We are proud members of the FDANZ, you can depend on Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors or the other members of InvoCare (check our other locations). We are committed to providing a thoroughly professional, high quality service from the funeral directors to support staff who have been or are being trained in acquiring these high standards.
Feel free to ask others and check our credentials, and for information or advice please fill in our enquiry form or phone us anytime. For more information view our Choosing a Funeral Director page.
The function of embalming is to ensure disinfection and preservation of the body during the funeral period. It can also ensure a more natural appearance of the deceased.
Sometimes, if the funeral is delayed for some reason or if the body has to be transferred to another city or country, embalming is mandatory. The staff at Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors can discuss the options with you and help you make the right choice.
We have experienced, qualified staff who will carry out the embalming process, and at all times the body will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. Find our more about embalming here.
Embalming is a skilled process and should only be performed by trained practitioners who are members of the FDANZ and/or the NZ Embalmers Association.
Often the deceased has made their wishes known, but if not then it is up to the family to choose. Whatever your choice, Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors will be able to take care of the arrangements for you.
In New Zealand, there are four options available: burial, cremation, burial at sea or donating a body to medical science.
In the past, this was the most common choice and is still favoured by many. It provides a family with a focal point, a grave to go to where they remember their loved one. Burial involves buying a burial plot, paying an interment fee, which covers the cost of digging the grave and maintaining it, and usually buying a memorial or headstone. In almost all cases, the places people can be buried are limited by law to official cemeteries or traditional burial grounds.
Cremation provides greater flexibility when choosing a final resting place because there is no restriction to specific places of burial. Ashes can be buried in a cemetery or special memorial area, or they can be scattered somewhere the family or deceased thought appropriate, such as in a garden, at sea, or in a favourite place. Some people split the ashes between different places. A memorial or plaque is often chosen to provide the focal point for the family.
The process of cremation involves placing the body within the casket into a cremator – a large metal box with room for only one casket. The cremation process takes approximately two to four hours. The ashes are removed from the cremator and placed in a pine container, about 26cm long and 15cm deep. You can have peace of mind that we will collect the cremated ashes returning them to our care. They are then available for families to collect, usually within 48 hours. We have a range of attractive urns available for you to choose from.
- Burial at Sea
This requires a special casket, which we can provide. There are specially designated areas off the New Zealand coastline for burial at sea which we can show you and then help with the arrangements.
- Organ Donation
If there is interest in the option of organ donation or leaving the body to medical science, arrangements need to be made prior to death. Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors can provide information about your options.
Many people who were hesitant at first have been helped in the grieving process by spending some time with the body of the deceased before the funeral. It is important to be able to say goodbye and to fully accept the finality of death. While the experience varies for everyone, it is an opportunity to spend time with your loved one and perhaps leave small mementos such as – gifts, cards, letters, or other meaningful items.
We offer private and comfortable viewing facilities in all of our locations for you and your family to say goodbye to the deceased, or if you would prefer we may be able to arrange for their casket to be taken to your home in the days prior to the funeral.
Dealing with the death of someone close is difficult at any age. Children and teenagers grieve too, although they may express it in different ways. Whether they attend the funeral is up to the family. However, in general, children do benefit from being involved, even in some small way, because it helps them to feel they are sharing their grief and honouring the person who has died.
Children often like to draw a picture or write a letter or poem to put in the casket. Just being there can help them understand, even if it takes time for them to deal with what has happened and what it means.
International & National Repatriation
Repatriation is taking home the body or the remains of someone who has died or been buried in a foreign land; a land that is not of their birth or that of their ancestors. There may be a personal desire for burial in their native country or the need to transport the deceased back to New Zealand.
You should state your desire to be repatriated in your will. It may be your wish to be buried in the land of your birth, perhaps a family grave or a church cemetery with other members of the family or clan. It is always wise to discuss your wishes with family and close friends so that they are able to fulfill your final wishes.
Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors offer a complete worldwide repatriation service to all parts of New Zealand and overseas and includes:
- Removal of the deceased
- The correct casket and specialist packaging for air transportation
- Legal documentation for foreign shipment
- The air transportation to the deceased’s native land
You should contact us as soon as possible so we may help with repatriation of the deceased.
Yes! Of course you can have any type of funeral you choose.
Just ask and we will explain all the options available to you. For some ideas check out Eco-Friendly Funerals which is part our InvoCare Group.
To find out more about Funeral Grant Applications, click here.
You might need a death certificate if you're administering someone's estate or applying for a funeral grant from Work and Income or ACC.
You’ll need a death certificate when:
- you or a lawyer is winding up or administering the estate of someone who's died
- you’re applying for a funeral grant from Work and Income or ACC.
For more information about applying for a death certificate visit the NZ Government Website here.
Yes, we understand this is a difficult time and it can feel overwhelming with so many decisions to make. We will be happy to come and help you at any time. Please phone us anytime on (03) 343 0919.
It's a personal opinion whether to have a funeral or not. Everyone copes with grief and death differently. Have a watch of 'Why Funerals Matter' video.
Every day Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors offer care and compassion to people at a difficult time in their lives. We understand that dealing with the loss of a loved one can be one of the hardest things someone will ever experience, which is why it is so important to be given the opportunity, the time and the support to grieve.
Funerals play a very important role in helping us to cope with our grief. They are for the living – they provide us with an opportunity to say our goodbyes, to be with people to give and receive support and to reflect and share the memories of the life of someone we have lost that mattered to us.
When someone we love dies, the funeral is not for them, it’s about them. The funeral is for everyone who knew, loved and was connected to that person.
These days many people wish to make the funeral a special celebration of someone’s life, and the ceremony or service has become much more personalised and individual.
At Sibuns Funeral Directors & Advisors, our funeral directors have been involved in guiding many families through numerous personal remembrances where people want to do things differently, with special meaning to the deceased and to his or her family and friends.
For example, in the days after death leading up to the funeral, family members often choose to have the deceased at home or on a marae. This is popular with both Maori and Pacific Island families, as well as with New Zealanders of all ethnicities who find great comfort from this experience.
If family and friends are traveling from overseas for the funeral it may be necessary to delay the service, in which case embalming may be recommended.
The funeral ceremony is important for family and friends to share their sorrow, and is an opportunity to celebrate the life of the person who has passed – to remember the good times, the humorous moments, their favourite music, their unique contributions, and to hear tributes and stories from people of all ages. It is good for children to be involved too, if they have been part of the deceased’s life.
Some of the important elements in designing a funeral service are:
- Movement – how the casket is brought in and taken out; who will carry it; and whether you want special music, movement, dancing or a guard of honour.
- Symbols – things that carry meaning and demonstrate what was important to the person who has passed, such as flowers from their garden, books and poems, candles, photographs, videos or a bible.
- Music – what music they most enjoyed. This can vary from classical to rock, country to opera, hymns to pop music. PowerPoint technology is also available for the showing of photographs and visual mementoes. A Piper, buglar or soloist can be incorporated into the service.
Whether you need to plan a funeral now or pre-plan for the future, we are happy to provide you with a free funeral pack which contains material about Sibuns and the professional services they offer.
It is impossible to sum up a life story in a few minutes. However, we can tell stories and recall memories in valuable and creative ways.
A eulogy is a time where we can talk about our loved one and remember who they were. It is a summary which covers important or interesting aspects of the deceased’s life. You might like to include important ‘milestones’ – births and marriages, significant moves and changes of career. At other times, a story or a little historical background may be appropriate. The formative years of the deceased’s life, including their childhood and schooling may also be covered and they may have had a particular spiritual outlook or a favorite book or poem which can also be included.
The eulogy should act as a springboard for others to call to mind their own special memories. So talk about your feelings for this special person – tell some stories about your experiences with him or her. Anecdotes are a special way to celebrate life – there is no reason to avoid the things that were amusing or even mildly irreverent!
Many immediate family members may understandably feel unable to speak publicly themselves, yet have important things to say. Check with them and if they want to offer a few words or a precious memory, include these too in the eulogy.
As a very general guide, the following are things you may want to include;
- Birthplace and short details of early childhood
- Educational and sporting achievements, military service
- Marriage and family life
- Hobbies, club memberships, charity involvement
- Preferences in music, literature, theatre, etc
- Characteristic words and sayings
- Personal qualities (perhaps illustrated by stories)
People often ask how long a eulogy should be – really it should be as long or as short as you wish but normally 10 minutes (a couple of typed A4 pages) is appropriate.
DVD or photo presentation
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – and that is often true. Many families like to display some photographs or other life symbols at the funeral service.
Photographs need not be recent, provided they are characteristic of a person’s life. Sometimes, a family photo or other group shot can be just the thing to capture someone’s personality.
At Sibuns, our inhouse service enables us to organise photos and arrange music so that everything is ready for the day.
Other items, like a favourite hat, prized trophy, tennis racquet or golf club, can all help symbolise a life. Sometimes, family members like to bring these symbolic items with them, and place them on or near the casket before or after the eulogy.
Finally, a carefully chosen piece of music can provide a pleasant reflective space after the eulogy. This may reflect the personal taste of the deceased, or simply be a track that the family find helpful for themselves.
Air New Zealand offers compassionate airfares to immediate family members living out of town and needing to travel to another centre to attend the funeral service. The compassionate air fares offer a reduction on full or higher priced fares, but do not apply to some of the lower priced fares that are already below the compassionate airfare level.
Most commonly, the family member applies for a refund after traveling, supplying the necessary documentation.
To prevent people from applying for compassionate refunds on fares purchased at a cut rate, Air New Zealand has recently introduced the need for their prior approval over the phone before you send in the formal application. This means you have to phone the Air New Zealand refunds team on 0800 733 8637 with your booking or ticket reference number.
The Air New Zealand refunds staff will then advise you if there is likely to be a partial refund, or no refund if the air fare is below the compassionate fare level. If a partial refund is due, you then fill in the form provided (by your funeral director or by Air New Zealand) and fax or mail it to the Air New Zealand refunds team for processing.
Your funeral director will then, at your request, send off the necessary form to Air New Zealand verifying the death.
Please feel free to ask your funeral director for further information.