What are the Options?
There are actually four different options available in New Zealand for what happens to a person’s body after they have died. These options are burial, cremation, burial at sea, and donation to medical science.
Burial has been the most common choice for many years, and is still the preference for many people today. Family members often appreciate having a grave to visit, as they can use this location to maintain a connection with the person who has died. People can visit the burial site to think about the person, cry, talk to them, or tend to their grave. The burial process involves three steps, the first of which is to buy a burial plot. The second step is to pay an interment fee, which is required to cover the cost of digging the grave, as well as ongoing maintenance. The third step is to purchase a memorial of some kind, such as a headstone. Many people find the ‘unveiling’ of a headstone to be a very important part of the grieving process.
In New Zealand, the law states that a person can only be buried in an official cemetery, or a Maori burial ground. There are a few particular circumstances which may allow for exceptions to these limitations. Your funeral director will be able to tell you more about these.
Cremation is popular because it provides much greater flexibility when choosing a final resting place. It is not like burial, where you are restricted to specific locations. Ashes can either be buried in a cemetery, or in a special ashes memorial area. Special areas could include a family plot, a memorial garden, in a favourite place, or even at sea. Some people choose to split the ashes, placing some in one location, and the remainder somewhere else. If you are considering scattering ashes in a particular place, it is important to check that the area is not close to traditional Maori food-gathering grounds.
In addition to the ashes being scattered, it is also common to also have some sort of memorial in a special place. This helps honour the person who has died, so people will be able to remember them for years to come. Grieving people often find that organising this is a positive way of dealing with their loss. Your funeral director will be happy to help with this, should you prefer.
In terms of the cremation process, it is something that people can sometimes be unsure of. It involves the casket, with the body inside, being placed in a cremator. This is essentially a large metal box, about the size of a small car. Some places also make it possible for families to actually watch the casket being put into the cremator. The process of cremation generally takes between two and four hours, and requires very high temperatures. The ashes are then taken from the cremator before it is used again, in order to ensure there is no chance of ashes being mixed with others. There is also only room for one casket at a time. After cremation, the ashes are crenulated, or broken up. They are then put into a simple plastic container, around 15 centimetres deep and 30 centimetres wide. These containers are designed to be put into an urn later on. We have a range of urns available to choose from.
Burial At Sea
In New Zealand, there is a specific number of designated coastal locations where burial at sea can take place. The burial is usually done via a boat or helicopter, and a special type of casket is also required. Burial at sea can either be chosen by people pre-planning their funeral, or by the family. Get in touch with our team for more information. We will be happy to answer any questions or make the arrangements for you if you would like.
Donation To Medical Science
To donate a body to medical science, it is absolutely essential that arrangements are made prior to the death. It is also necessary to ensure that the medical school’s range of requirements and criteria have been met. (It is worth noting that New Zealand medical schools do not have a constant requirement for donations). As an alternative, you may want to become an organ donor. Talk to the Rosetown Funeral Home team if you would like more information about either of these options.