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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Planning a funeral or memorial

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Funerals and memorial services play an important role in the grieving process and acknowledging the reality of death.

They are an occasion to say goodbye, celebrate the life of the person who has died and bring whānau (family) and friends together to express their grief and support the bereaved.

Planning a funeral or memorial in advance

Planning a funeral in advance gives everyone, including the dying person, the opportunity to contribute their ideas and wishes. If you have discussed this previously or if the dying person has written an advance care plan you may already know their wishes.

The recommended pages below have information to help you plan a funeral or memorial.

Funeral directors

Many people use a funeral director to help them make all the necessary arrangements. To find a funeral director, you might like to ask whānau and friends for recommendations.

It can be helpful to ring a few to find out prices and services offered. This national list of funeral directors might help.

You can read more about what funeral directors do and information about funeral costs.

Arranging things yourself

You do not have to use a funeral director. If you decide to make your own arrangements, you need to plan ahead, as you need to know how to care for the tūpāpaku (body). There are also legal requirements such as registering the death.

Community Law's Funerals and tangihanga page may help you with the process.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: After someone you love has died

Written by Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury end of life care and bereavement group and Nurse Maude Hospice. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created August 2022.


Page reference: 76097

Review key: HIWSD-76097