- Your first call - either the Police, or a FDANZ Funeral Director
Who to call when someone has died depends on the circumstances of the death, and where the death occurred. The most important step is to confirm the death and for an appropriate medical professional to ascertain the cause of the death. After this step, the funeral director of your choice can arrange transport of the person to their funeral home, arrange after-care and await your further instructions.
- Death at a hospital or similar institution
If the death happened at a hospital the medical staff will confirm the death and either determine the cause of death or involve the Coroner if they are unable to determine the cause of death or if there are any suspicious circumstances. As the grieving family, your first call should be to a FDANZ Funeral Director who can talk you through the next stages.
- Death at rest home or similar location
If the death was not unexpected, the rest home is likely to call their on-call doctor/medical professional to confirm death and document the cause of death. If the death was unexpected, suspicious or the cause of death cannot be determined, the rest home may call the Police who act as the Coroner’s agent. As the grieving family, your first call should be to a FDANZ Funeral Director who can talk you through the next stages.
- Death at home or in a public space
If the death was expected, a doctor/medical professional still has to confirm death and document the cause of death. This is most often facilitated by your funeral director who will liaise with the family’s doctor and arrange transport for the body to the doctor’s premise for the examination. Not many doctors visit the home for this purpose anymore. If the death was unexpected, or you have any concerns, please call the Police.
- Death while overseas
If a New Zealand resident dies overseas, your Tilton Opie + Pattinson Funeral Director can help you understand the options in regards arranging for the person’s body or ashes to be repatriated (brought back to New Zealand).
Proud to be members of the FDANZ, you can depend on Tilton Opie + Pattinson Funeral Directors or the other members of InvoCare (check our other locations). We are committed to providing a thoroughly professional, high quality service from the funeral directors to support staff who have been or are being trained in acquiring these high standards.
Feel free to ask others and check our credentials, and for information or advice please fill in our enquiry form or phone us anytime.
The function of embalming is to ensure disinfection and preservation of the body during the funeral period. It can also ensure a more natural appearance of the deceased.
Sometimes, if the funeral is delayed for some reason or if the body has to be transferred to another city or country, embalming is mandatory. The staff at Tilton Opie + Pattinson can discuss the options with you and help you make the right choice.
We have experienced, qualified staff who will carry out the embalming process, and at all times the body will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.
Embalming is a skilled process and should only be performed by trained practitioners who are members of the FDANZ and/or the NZ Embalmers Association.
Often the deceased has made their wishes known, but if not then it is up to the family to choose. Whatever your choice, Tilton Opie + Pattinson Funeral Directors 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.
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.
Cremation provides greater flexibility when choosing a final resting place because there is no restriction to specific places of burial. 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.
Organ DonationThe 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 a pine container, about 26cm long and 15cm deep. You can have peace of mind that we will collect the cremated ashes returning them to our care. They are then available for families to collect, usually within 48 hours. We have a range of attractive urns available for you to choose from.
- 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. Tilton Opie + Pattinson can provide information about your options.
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.
We offer private and comfortable viewing facilities in all of our locations 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.
Dealing with the death of someone close is difficult at any age. Children and teenagers grieve too, although they may express it in different ways. Whether they attend the funeral is up to the family. However, in general, children do benefit from being involved, even in some small way, because it helps them to feel they are sharing their grief and honouring the person who has died.
Children often like to draw a picture or write a letter or poem to put in the casket. Just being there can help them understand, even if it takes time for them to deal with what has happened and what it means.
International & National Repatriation
Repatriation is taking home the body or the remains of someone who has died or been buried in a foreign land; a land that is not of their birth or that of their ancestors. There may be a personal desire for burial in their native country or the need to transport the deceased back to New Zealand.
You should state your desire to be repatriated in your will. It may be your wish to be buried in the land of your birth, perhaps a family grave or a church cemetery with other members of the family or clan. It is always wise to discuss your wishes with family and close friends so that they are able to fulfill your final wishes.
Tilton Opie + Pattinson Funeral Directors offer a complete worldwide repatriation service to all parts of New Zealand and overseas and includes:
- Removal of the deceased
- The correct casket and specialist packaging for air transportation
- Legal documentation for foreign shipment
- The air transportation to the deceased’s native land
You should contact us as soon as possible so we may help with repatriation of the deceased.
Yes! Of course you can have any type of funeral you choose.
Just ask and we will explain all the options available to you. For some ideas check out Eco-Friendly Funerals which is part our InvoCare Group.
You might need a death certificate if you're administering someone's estate or applying for a funeral grant from Work and Income or ACC.
You’ll need a death certificate when:
- you or a lawyer is winding up or administering the estate of someone who's died
- you’re applying for a funeral grant from Work and Income or ACC.
For more information about applying for a death certificate visit the NZ Government Website here.
Yes, we understand this is a difficult time and it can feel overwhelming with some many decisions to make. We will be happy to come and help you at any time. Please phone us anytime on (09) 827 8332.
It's a personal opinion whether to have a funeral or not. Everyone copes with grief and death differently. Have a watch of 'Why Funerals Matter' video.
On behalf of my entire family, I want to express our gratitude for your kindness and skill in handling the arrangements for my father's funeral. I appreciate that you as the Funeral Director personally handled everything from start to finish making sure all the details were perfect, it takes special people to do what you do and you and your staff certainly do it with style and professionalism.