Frequently Asked Questions


When it comes to funerals, we understand that there are many things you will want to know. Please call us if there is anything else you want to know. We are always happy to help.

When someone dies, what do I do?

If the death is unexpected, call 111. Otherwise, ring your family doctor, who will attend the death and issue a medical certificate. Once this has happened, call Simplicity Funerals Christchurch on (03) 379 0196 and our funeral directors will come to transfer your loved one into our care. If the death occurs at a rest home, hospital or hospice, the nursing staff organise these first steps for you. The funeral director will usually discuss a time to sit down and discuss funeral arrangements.

Can I have a different kind of funeral?

Due to cultural, religious and individual needs, at Simplicity we understand that funerals are not a case of “one size fits all.” We will work with you to enable you to have a farewell that is exactly right for you.

Should children attend the funeral?

Dealing with the death of someone close is difficult at any age. Children and teenagers grieve too, although they may express it different ways. Children may appreciate being involved because it helps them to feel they are sharing their grief and honouring the person who has died. Just being there can help them understand what has happened and what it means.

Do we even need a funeral?

Saying goodbye to someone you love is an important thing to do, but how you do that is completely up to you.

Watch our  'Why Funerals Matter' video.

Some people use our Memories Lounge to gather remember and celebrate as a small group.

Should we see our loved one?

Many people who were hesitant at first have been helped in the grieving process by spending some time with the body of the deceased before the funeral. It is important to be able to say goodbye  and to fully accept the finality of death. While the experience varies for everyone, it is an opportunity to spend time with your loved one and perhaps leave small mementos such as – gifts, cards, letters, or other meaningful items you can also leave a message on the casket with felt pens if desired. We offer private and comfortable viewing facilities in our Sydenham location for you and your family to say goodbye to the deceased, or if you would prefer we may be able to arrange for their casket to be taken to your home in the days prior to the funeral, and or Burial or cremation.

Can I have my loved one at home?

Yes, of course. For some families, it really important to spend time with their loved one in a familiar and comfortable environment. It is our company policy that for safety, hygiene and comfort reasons that anyone going home must be embalmed unless special circumstances apply.

Can a funeral director come to make the funeral arrangements at our home?

Yes of course. We understand this is a difficult time and it can feel overwhelming with so many decisions to make. We will be happy to come and visit you at any time.

How do I choose – burial or cremation?

Often the deceased has made their wishes known, but if not then it is up to the family to choose. Whatever your choice, Simplicity Funerals will be able to take care of the arrangements for you.

In New Zealand, there are four options available: burial, cremation, burial at sea or donating a body to medical science.

  • Burial
    In the past, this was the most common choice and is still favoured by many. It provides a family with a focal point, a grave to go to where they remember their loved one. Burial involves buying a burial plot, paying an interment fee, which covers the cost of digging the grave and maintaining it, and usually buying a memorial or headstone. In almost all cases, the places people can be buried are limited by law to official cemeteries or traditional burial grounds. If you wish you can fill the grave in but conditions apply.
  • Cremation
    Cremation provides greater flexibility when choosing a final resting place because there is no restriction to specific places of burial or scattering. Ashes can be buried in a cemetery or special memorial area, or they can be scattered somewhere the family or deceased thought appropriate, such as in a garden, at sea, or in a favourite place. Some people split the ashes between different places. A memorial or plaque is often chosen to provide the focal point for the family.
    The process of cremation involves placing the body within the casket into a cremator – a large metal box with room for only one casket. The cremation process takes approximately two to four hours. The ashes are removed from the cremator and placed in an Acrylic container, about 25cm long and 14cm wide. They are then available for families to collect, usually within 48 hours. We have a range of attractive urns and scatter tubes available for you to choose from. We also have some very nice cremation jewellery / keepsakes
  • Burial at Sea
    This requires a special casket, which we can provide. There are specially designated areas off the New Zealand coastline for burial at sea which we can show you and then help with the arrangements.
  • Organ Donation
    If there is interest in the option of organ donation or leaving the body to medical science, arrangements need to be made prior to death. Simplicity Funerals can provide information about your options.
Where can I have the Funeral Service?

There are a number of options in Christchurch if you do not have your own church. The service can be held in either Harewood or Canterbury crematorium Chapels, in your own home or garden, or in the various chapels throughout Christchurch and surrounds. Our funeral directors can liaise with the crematoriums or facilities required and book these facilities for you.

Do I have to have a religious ceremony?

No, this is purely a matter of personal preference.

Can we just run the funeral ourselves?

Yes, you can. However, be mindful that you may be adding more stress to an already stressful situation. Our role is to take care of the details in order to allow you the time and space you may need. Have a talk to us around options of what you can do yourselves which can add value to the funeral.

How do I write a Eulogy?

The eulogy should act as a springboard for others to call to mind their own special memories. So, talk about your feelings for this special person. Tell some stories about your experiences with him or her. Anecdotes are a splendid way to celebrate life – there is no reason to avoid the things that were amusing!

Many immediate family members may understandably feel unable to speak publicly themselves, yet have important things to say. Check with them. If they want to offer a few words or a precious memory, try to briefly include these.

As a very general guide, we offer the following checklist of things you may want to include…

  • Birthplace and short details of early childhood.
  • Educational and sporting achievements, military service.
  • Work/career.
  • Marriage and family life.
  • Hobbies, club memberships, charity involvement.
  • Preferences in music, literature, theatre, etc.
  • Characteristic words and sayings.
  • Personal qualities (perhaps illustrated by stories).

People often ask how long a eulogy should be – five minutes or a couple of typed A4 pages is ample.

Who should talk at a funeral?

Anyone that you want. Sometimes, there is an open forum, where anyone who wants to is invited to speak. However you could also choose to ask representatives from each specific part of your loved ones life to speak. For example, a work mate, a club caption, the grandchildren, a mentor etc.

Can I have an eco-friendly funeral?

Christchurch has two Natural Burial Grounds, eco-funerals in New Zealand can be achieved when you minimise your funeral’s impact on our planet such as eco casket options, sourcing local flowers and in season food for your catering. Talk to us about the options you can choose that will assist in impacting the environment less.

Can I plan my own funeral?

Yes, you can. Download our information pack to get some ideas, and you can record your wishes here. Alternatively, you can phone one of funeral directors, they will talk you through all your options.

What happens to my ashes after cremation?

Ashes become available approximately two working days after the cremation and can be collected from us any time after then.

When is the death certificate available?

The details of death must be registered within three days of the burial or cremation. This is usually the responsibility of the Funeral Director. The certificate is then sent to Simplicity Funerals within 7-10 days. We then forward it on to the family.

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