In Loving Memory

Funeral Flowers

How to take care of someone's death without relying on a Funeral Director

Welcome to the DIY Funeral website.

In New Zealand you can do almost everything that needs to be done to manage somebody's death yourself. Legally you are not obliged to engage a funeral director and you are not obliged to embalm a person's body. In most circumstances you can carry out a person's after death care and funeral arrangements in your own home and without any special equipment.

Whether you are thoughtfully planning ahead for your own funeral, or you need to arrange a burial or cremation right now for someone who has just died, this website is designed to help you through the process.

Do you simply need an affordable casket or coffin?

If so, please go straight to my Caskets and Coffins page.

Are you dealing with a death right now?

If so, and you are not sure what to do, please go straight to my When a Person Dies page.

Are you looking ahead, or planning your own funeral?

If a death in your family is imminent, take your time and look through the information on this site carefully. There is a lot to digest, but once you understand it you can be much more confident in making your own funeral arrangements. Remember death is not an emergency! There is no rush. You can take your time and consider all the options carefully before involving other people.

If you are making preliminary plans for your own eventual death, good on you. Making preparations for your own funeral can make it much easier for those who will be arranging your funeral when the time comes. If your family and friends know your wishes in advance, there will be less scope for confusion or disagreement and the practical decisions will be easier to make. This page will help you to decide if a DIY funeral is right for you.

A cremation will almost always be much cheaper than a burial. The DIA has put out a useful brochure outlining what needs to happen before a body is buried or cremated in New Zealand: see Before Burial or Cremation.

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions please get in touch with me through the Contact page.

Why not just use a funeral home?

Funeral homes are profit-based businesses, and according to a recent newspaper article, around 75% of the funeral homes in New Zealand are now owned by two large corporations, Propel and Invocare. The cost of a cremation and funeral service provided by a funeral home in New Zealand has been estimated to be up to $10,000 on average, a figure which puts a strain on many households and often requires people to go into debt. Burial costs are often much higher.

Often a large portion of the cost will be "professional services" which are unspecified but basically amount to filling in the forms and covering the overheads. You can save yourself thousands by using resources like this website to learn how to do it all yourself.

Many people do not know that in New Zealand:
  • There is NO legal requirement for you to use a funeral director. Any ordinary person can arrange a funeral.
  • There is NO legal requirement for a body to be embalmed.
  • There ARE certain legal requirements regarding transporting a body, dealing with it in a reasonable time, carrying out certain paperwork obligations and so on but anyone can undertake these functions.

Taking control of a person's funeral arrangements yourself means facing some challenging situations and doing some unpleasant tasks. There is a steep learning curve, but any reasonably capable person can do it. The funeral industry is only too happy to have you believe that it's all too hard and you can't do it yourself but this is simply not true - in most cases you can.

There can be no greater mark of love and respect than arranging a person's final departure from this world in keeping with the type of person they were and what they wanted. It can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying to take control of the process yourself and to know you have discharged your duties well.

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