Transporting Coffins and Caskets
Anyone with a valid driver's licence for the class of motor vehicle that the deceased is being transported in can transport a body in a casket or coffin within New Zealand.
There are no special licences needed to transport a deceased person, unless you are setting up in business as an undertaker or funeral director.
However, there are some special requirements for transporting a deceased person. They are pretty much all "common sense".
Health (Burial) Regulations 1946
There are some legal requirements under the Regulations for anyone organising a DIY funeral which are summarised here:
Other Things to Note
Commercial Freight Forwarders
Land transport freight forwarders (eg trucking companies or couriers) normally will not transport caskets or coffins containing deceased persons. If you don't want to do long distance travel, Funeral Directors will do it, usually at a substantial price.
Human remains, including cremation ashes, are NOT permitted to travel by post through Customs.
Air Transport of Ashes
There are various methods for returning the ashes, which include air freight, courier service or even as hand luggage on the aircraft with an accompanying person as long as all the documentation is in order.
Air Transport of Deceased Persons
Airlines refer to the transport of a deceased person in a casket or coffin as H.R. (human remains).
The following notes are intended only as a guide to head you in the right direction, they are not intended to be fully comprehensive.
Air New Zealand will only accept H.R. for transport from funeral directors, New Zealand District Health Boards (DHBs) or the New Zealand Police.
Air New Zealand will not accept consignment of H.R. from the general public, although anyone organising a DIY funeral can pick up the H.R. from the destination cargo depot.
Domestic Air Transport of Human Remains (not ashes)
Air New Zealand does NOT require that the body is embalmed for domestic flights. Click on http://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/shipping-caskets for information.
International Air Transport of Human Remains (not ashes)
This is when you hope that the deceased had Travel Insurance that covered repatriation.
Repatriation can be a complicated process - each country has its own regulations and procedures that must be followed, as well as international rules that must be complied with when transporting human remains.
Normally there needs to be a high level of co-ordination between a New Zealand funeral director and also an overseas funeral director. For example, embalming requirements vary from country to country, but must also meet New Zealand standards. The overseas funeral director has to certify that the correct embalming has happened and that a casket appropriate for international shipping regulations is being consigned. There is also a raft of legal and Customs paperwork, which can vary from country to country.
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