uGeneral Facts

How do I choose a funeral director?

In New Zealand anyone can set up as a funeral director, as there is no legislation governing this profession, so it pays to be careful when making your choice.

Howard & Gannon Funerals are committed to providing a professional and high quality service.

What should I do when a family member has died?

If the death occurs at home, you need to notify the doctor. If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing home you should call family members first and then contact us for advice and we can guide you through the next steps.

In some instances, usually when the police are involved in a sudden or unexpected death a funeral director may have already been contacted to transport the deceased to a public mortuary. In this case the family still has the responsibility to organise the funeral and choose their own funeral director.

Why is a coroner involved?

A coroner is involved in a sudden or unexpected death, an accidental death, or if a doctor is unable to establish the cause of death. The coroner must establish a cause of death and this may require a post mortem or autopsy.

What about ACC after a death by accident?

After the cause of death has been established the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) may be able to pay compensation to the dependents of accident victims and make a contribution to funeral expenses.

How can I pay if the estate is still tied up?

When a death occurs sometimes bank accounts can not be accessed until after probate. When settlement of an estate is delayed by lack of probate, families should pay the funeral account by the due date and recover the funds from the estate when it is settled. Most funeral firms send the account directly to the family and if requested to the family solicitor.

How do I choose a casket?

Howard & Gannon Funerals offer a large range of caskets and urns available in our show room, so you can compare styles and prices. These are many options available now, from solid timber, veneer, eco friendly, or even personalised caskets with vinyl art.

Burial or cremation?

Hopefully this is something that has been discussed with the deceased at some time. If not, it is the family who decide what to do. Howard and Gannon Funerals can assist you by providing more information as required.

» Burial involves buying a burial plot, paying an internment fee and usually buying a memorial or headstone.

» Cremation provides some flexibility, as ashes can be kept in an urn or scattered where the family or deceased felt appropriate.

How much input do I have into how the funeral ceremony runs?

At Howard & Gannon Funerals our experienced funeral directors have been involved in guiding families through a wide variety of funeral ceremonies. These days funeral services are much more personalised than in the past and you are welcome to include special things of significance of the deceased and family, this includes; where the ceremony is held, music chosen, transportation of the casket, who speaks at the funeral, cultural considerations, and any other personal touches you wish to include as part of the ceremony. In the end we are here to support your choices, and our expertise and advice will ensure your ceremony runs smoothly.

Should children attend a funeral?

The choice of whether to attend a funeral should be left up to the child and their parents. Dealing with the death of someone close to you is difficult at any age. For some people having their child attend the ceremony is crucial in helping the child come to terms with their loss, and being part of the ceremony enables the parent and child to share their grief together and provides comfort. However again this is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong answer.

Here at Howard & Gannon Funerals we also have a facility that allows parents and their children to view the ceremony from a separate room if required.

sFuneral Expenses

The costs and fees associated with a funeral are determined by the many and varied options you choose. Some fees are fixed depending on the area you live in, and the various council costs associated with a burial or cremation. The only way to determine the estimated cost of a funeral is to sit down and go through specific requests and discuss individual family requirements.

The funeral account is made up from the following charges:

What does a Funeral Director's Professional Fee include?

In New Zealand anyone can set up as a funeral director, as there is no legislation governing this profession, so it pays to be careful when making your choice.

Howard & Gannon Funerals are committed to providing a professional and high quality service.

  • Personal attendance to receive instructions from the family
  • Transferring the deceased into our care
  • Liaising with ministers/celebrants, florists, organists, churches or other venues
  • Liaising with medical authorities regarding medical certificates, cremation certificates and burial applications
  • Mortuary services including hygienic care of the deceased, dressing and preparation for viewing
  • Arranging funeral according to families instructions
  • Preparing and organising newspaper notices
  • Booking cemetery and crematorium
  • Use of vehicles for funeral service
  • Use of facilities for viewing
  • Service sheet preparation
  • Arranging catering and caterers

The Funeral Directors professional fee also covers overheads, vehicles, and on call staff (24 hours). This fee can vary sometimes depending on our involvement in the funeral and services provided to the family.

How much do caskets cost?

We have a large selection of caskets available for you to select from, and prices vary. Please come and talk to us about your best option.

What expenses are usually paid on behalf of the family?

These are expenses generally paid by the funeral director on behalf of the family and relate to the funeral experience:

  • Flowers
  • Catering
  • Venue Hire
  • Minister/ Celebrant Fees
  • Organist Fees
  • Newspaper Notices
  • Personalised Service Sheets
  • Death Certificates
  • Any other arrangements the family has asked to be made on their behalf

Can I get any financial assistance?

WINZ Grant — there is a funeral grant available from Work and Income New Zealand. It is a lump sum payment to assist with funeral expenses; it is means tested and will not cover the full cost of the funeral. We can assist you with the application but you will need to provide a recent bank statement for the deceased and sign the application.

ACC — if a person's death is as a result of an accident, application can be made to ACC for a funeral. We can assist you with this application and usually do so on your behalf. There may be other grants that dependants are entitled to.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding costs please feel free to contact our office.

tCoping With Grief

Grief is an intense and personal experience. It is a response to the loss of a loved one and the intensity of the grief you feel is unique to each individual and the circumstances of the death. Every loss we experience will be different. We understand that the funeral service is just the beginning of your journey. We are here to help you cope with your loss and we can assist you in finding the resources to help you through the stages of grief.

How can you help someone who is grieving?

  • Listen: Allow the person grieving to talk, recall memories, perhaps over and over again.
  • Be Aware: Working through grief is necessary. It can take a long time and you can not expect people to move on before they are ready. Show sensitivity, people grieving need support not judgement.
  • Show understanding: Allow the person grieving to openly express their feelings. Reassure them that what they are experiencing is normal and part of healing.
  • Be Patient: Mourning and loss of a loved one takes a long time. Remember that grief may become more intense at special times like birthdays, Christmas, holidays and anniversaries.


Should we view the body?

Once again this is personal choice. Many people find viewing the deceased helps them in the grieving process, and in some cultures spending time with the deceased before the ceremony is important. It can help people come to terms with their loss, and can be a time to express emotions and feelings.

Howard & Gannon Funerals offers private and comfortable viewing facilities for you and your family to say goodbye to the deceased. Alternatively, we can easily arrange for their casket to be taken to your home or marae in the days before the final ceremony.


If you want any more information on embalming go to the New Zealand Embalmers Association website at or give us a call and we can answer any questions you have.

What is embalming?

Embalming is the preservation and disinfection of the deceased between the time of death and the ceremony. It can also provide a more natural appearance of the deceased to ensure that family and friends can have a safe and positive experience if they decide to view their love one. All the embalming at Howard & Gannon Funerals is carried out or supervised by a qualified embalmer of the New Zealand Embalmers Association in accordance with their code of ethics.

Is embalming necessary?

There are various circumstances where embalming is necessary, for example; if the funeral is to be delayed for some reason, or if the deceased needs to be transferred to another city or country. Embalming also disinfects the whole body making any micro-organisms harmless, allowing family and friends to view their loved one without any health risks.