About Us

Our experienced funeral directors are caring, professional and dedicated to designing a personalised funeral service to suit your family’s individual needs.

Howard & Gannon Funerals Ltd was founded by Janine Howard and Ross Gannon in 2012. Creating a light filled, modern facility, and maintaining traditional values was important to them. Having both been brought up in the area, the Taradale location was an easy decision. Providing an ethical, professional service, with compassion and care is the essence of the company. The company’s mission statement, “With integrity and professionalism, we care,” was, and continues to be of utmost importance to all staff. Janine and Ross are extremely proud of the company they created, and the continued service it delivers to the Hawke’s Bay region.

Howard & Gannon is now part of Propel Funeral Partners. Propel is one of the largest providers of funeral related services in New Zealand and Australia and is publicly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Julie O’Brien will continue to oversee operations as the General Manager.

Julie O’Brien

Dip. FD
General Manager | Funeral Director

I was born in Berkshire England and spent the first 12 years of my life in the small village of Hermitage. My family and I then moved to Dorset and lived my teenage years in Wimborne, another small community. When I left school, I qualified as a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor at Wellington Riding.

In 1999 I made the move on my own to New Zealand and came to the beautiful Hawke’s Bay area where I took up a position at New Zealand Performance Horses at Ocean Beach.

Following my passion for animals I studied and qualified as a vet nurse and worked for Vet Services in their Waipukurau and Napier branches.

After the sudden loss of my stepdad, I decided to give back by becoming a volunteer with St John Ambulance and did this for 6 years. I then qualified as an EMT and became a full-time member for the next 3 years. Working for St John Ambulance I came to see how vulnerable people can be when they lose someone and I wanted to help families, to give their loved ones a personal goodbye.

In 2015 I was given the opportunity to become a funeral director and help Hawke’s Bay families say goodbye to their loved ones. It’s an honour to be involved in this and I take pride in ensuring that I provide the best service for my families.

I am married to Mike and have two wonderful boys, Ben, and Jack. We live by the sea and enjoy taking our dog Jaspa for walks.

Lloyd McDonald

Funeral Director

I moved to Hawkes Bay in the early nineteen eighties from my home town of Palmerston North. My early working life was spent in the print industry before joining the NZ Police in 1993; I served for almost 14 years in both Napier and Hastings. Upon leaving the Police I had three years in the agricultural field, before working for the Police again in a civilian role. Following this I found myself working at the Hastings cemetery and crematorium.

It was whilst working at the cemetery that I began to get an insight into the funeral director’s role with families. I was impressed by the caring service that they provide to families in the time of their distress following a death of a loved one. I now have the opportunity to make a difference to grieving families myself. I intend to conduct myself with the utmost reverence and with empathy so as to make those that are left behind as comfortable as possible with the funeral process.

I live on a lifestyle property on the outskirts of Hastings with my partner and a menagerie of horses, cats, dog, and chickens. I have two awesome grown up children, one lives in Australia with her husband and three children and my son lives in Napier with his partner. In my spare time I enjoy trout fishing, riding my motorcycle and good wine.

Justin Rae


I am Napier born and raised and live in Taradale with my wife and two children and love living in the bay. I have over 30 years of radio broadcasting experience. I enjoy music, cooking, gardening, and all things radio controlled! I am passionate about the community I live in, and thrive on helping clubs and groups in need in my spare time. The funeral industry is something I’ve had an interest in for over a decade and Howard & Gannon funerals gave me an opportunity to becoming a funeral director which has been a very rewarding experience.

Being able to help people with their final journey from this life is an honour as well as being able to assist the family at a difficult time.

Michele Allison


I am a true Hawke’s Bay girl, having lived here most of my life.

Before embarking on motherhood and 5 children, I had a career in banking and finance. I then became passionate about gardening and landscaping and have recently taken on a huge project landscaping 10 acres in Meeanee, whilst my clever builder husband, Pat, builds our forever home. My retired parents also have a little cottage on our property to sit and watch the rural life and be looked after.

Ten years ago I became part of another family, the Howard & Gannon team. My roles include Office Administration and Funeral Assistance, generally helping families and the team wherever needed.

Pip Davies


I was born in the Bethany Maternity Home in Napier, raised and schooled in Taradale. After living in Dunedin, London and Auckland, I returned to the Bay in 2003 to be closer to my family.

My two children have left and are off having their adventures, so it’s now a quieter household for my husband and I, apart from our dogs that make us laugh every day.

I feel honoured to be walking alongside the people who entrust us with someone they love.

I would just like to convey my appreciation for the magnificent job you did with Dad's funeral. Through your professionalism, poise and grace you made the most difficult of tasks a little easier. You showed infinite patience with family members as well as myself (especially me) during the process.
Needless to say I am one of your biggest fans (I know, just one of the many). On talking to people at and after the funeral I have been singing your praises with the incredible job you did starting from the consultation process through to the catering. In actual fact I had people coming up to me to say "that's the best funeral they had been to" (if there is such a thing?). In closing I'd just like to say a very big Thank You. NT

"Thank you very much for the kindness you showed to myself and my sister when our mum died in June. We appreciated your professionalism and the way nothing was a problem to you. Kind regards and keep on with what you do so well."

"You couldn’t be more thoughtful, and I couldn’t be more grateful. The words say it all - you are an awesome team. Everything you did for us was faultless."

"Thank you for your support and everything you have done for us through a ‘somewhat challenging time’. Your professionalism, honesty, and your wonderful kindness was very much appreciated by us, and simply just being there for us is just what we needed."

"At a time of hurt and pain, I was professionally assisted and advised with real compassion by all of your staff. Howard & Gannon is a 21st century funeral parlour operated by loving and caring people."

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