Returning your loved one’s body to the land
Burial or cremation
Your loved one may have told you their wishes for their body, or they may have left it to you to choose. In New Zealand, four options are available: burial, cremation, burial at sea or donating a body to medical science.
Choosing a cemetery, traditional burial ground or urupā as a final resting place for your loved one, gives you a peaceful place to visit and remember them.
We can take care of all burial arrangements for you. If your family has an existing plot in a cemetery, we’ll arrange the interment fee, which covers digging the grave and maintaining it. If you need a burial plot, we can acquire this for you. Many people also like to install a memorial or headstone.
Here is a guide to cemeteries and burial grounds in Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Waimakariri and Selwyn. In New Zealand, people may not be buried on private land.
Cremation gives you more choice when it comes choosing a final resting place for your loved one.
Their ashes may be buried in a cemetery or a memorial garden, or scattered somewhere meaningful, like their garden, or in their favourite place. You may choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes and also install a memorial or a plaque as a spot to visit with family and friends.
After the funeral, your loved one’s body will be transferred to the crematorium. Family and friends may choose to accompany them. At the crematorium, their body will be placed into a cremator, a large metal box with space for one casket.
Your loved one’s ashes will be available a few days after their cremation. We can collect them from the crematorium and your funeral director will discuss your wishes. We can handle interment or scattering the ashes on your behalf, and we can also help send ashes to other destinations. We have a range of attractive urns available for you to choose from.
A cremation requires more documentation than a burial. The local council gives permission for a cremation and the process requires four documents.
1. The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Take this to the council when you go to apply.
2. An Application for Cremation. Complete and sign this at the local council and pay for the cremation. The council will give you two more forms.
3. A Certificate of Medical Practitioner. Take this to the doctor who certified the cause of death for them to complete and sign.
4. A Permission to Cremate form. This must be signed by the medical referee from the crematorium. They need to see the completed Application for Cremation and the Certificate of Medical Practitioner.
Burial at sea
Keen sailors and members of the navy may wish to be buried at sea. There are designated areas for sea burial off the New Zealand coast. The nearest sea burial site to Christchurch is 55 nautical miles northeast of Lyttelton. Sea burial requires a special casket, and we can help you with all arrangements.
Organ donation and donation to medical science
Your loved one may have registered to save lives by donating their organs and tissues after death. If they have discussed this with you, you will be asked for your consent before donation takes place.
Funeral arrangements are not often affected or delayed by organ donation. If you and your family agree to donation, organs and tissues are removed respectfully using normal surgical procedures. It is still possible to take your loved one’s body home, or to your marae, and to have an open casket following donation.
Your loved one may also have made arrangements to leave their body to medical science. Your funeral director can talk you through the process for this and for organ donation.