Burial or Cremation?
This is an important, personal decision. Whilst it should not be rushed, it does heavily influence the care of the deceased.
One of your major considerations is choosing between burial and cremation. Your loved one may have told you, or someone else, exactly how they wish to be cared for after death. But it can be a difficult decision for some families, especially when deceased’ wishes were never clearly stated. If that’s the case, we can help you come to the perfect decision for your loved one, and for your family.
There are several variations available for both burial and cremation. Naturally, we’re here to help and advise you. Whichever choice is made, there is an undeniable finality linked with this last journey.
If you decide to bury your loved one, the timeframe for the funeral service and the type of burial selected dictate what options are available for preparation and care of their body prior to burial.
With burials, the ceremony usually involves the casket being present, and the option to have a public or private viewing of the deceased. There are many burial options available, ranging from a traditional burial to a more informal service, even in your family home.
Traditionally, a burial service involves a viewing and a funeral service in a church or other place of worship, a nondenominational chapel, a funeral home, or at a private home. The casket is typically present at these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not.
Green or Woodland Burial
Some people express a preference for a ‘green’ or environmentally-friendly burial, also known as a woodland burial. The deceased is not embalmed with toxic chemicals and only biodegradable materials are used, especially so for the casket.
Other Burial Options
These are fairly limited due to legislation. Above ground burial involves the casket being entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum or a burial vault. Underground burial vaults are also an option. Burial at sea is allowed only in certain coastal areas. Unfortunately, burial at sea is becoming increasingly difficult to offer as an option due to the regulatory requirements and restrictions imposed under international law. Burial on private land, usually land that belongs to a family, is permitted under certain conditions and we can advise you about these.
Embalming delays the natural processes that take place after death. If the timeframe for the funeral is within a few days of death, embalming is not essential. However, it is an important consideration and highly recommended if you want to have a viewing, or if there is family coming from abroad for the funeral, or you need to wait a period of time before you conduct the funeral.
Cremation is not an alternative to a funeral, but rather an alternative to a burial. A cremation tends to be quicker, easier to arrange and more cost effective, but it doesn’t limit the ways in which you can honour your loved one’s life. You may still have a funeral or memorial service, because of your need for such a healing experience.
The timing of the funeral determines how the deceased is cared for before cremation. Embalming may or may not be required. Should you desire to have your loved one cremated, there are two options available. They can either be cremated immediately or very soon after death and their ashes delivered back to the family for a memorial service. Alternatively, the deceased can be embalmed and kept in-state for a traditional funeral service, followed by their cremation.
In New Zealand, the process is for the remains to be sealed in a combustible casket that is placed in a special furnace called a cremation chamber or a crematory, where the intense heat literally evaporates the timber and linings of the casket. Therefore, the returned ashes are purely the remains of the deceased. Rigorous cleaning and screening processes are mandatory as well, to ensure remains do not get mixed up with those of another person.
Due to the level of documentation and checks in place, most crematoriums will only accept jobs via a funeral director. If a cremation service is required we will offer advice on the facilities available at the crematorium of your choice.