Preparing for the Farewell

Gathering Ideas

Some initial areas to start thinking about before we meet with you:

  • Burial or cremation? If you are unsure, we can discuss the options with you
  • If cremation is chosen – do you have any thoughts about what you would like to do with the ashes?
  • Any specific requests in the will?
  • Any thoughts about caskets?
  • Do you want a public or private service?
  • What type of farewell would be suitable – church or chapel, traditional or modern?
  • When you would like to have the funeral?
  • Are there any parts of the farewell you feel comfortable in looking after yourself?
  • What photographs are there for the order of service and/or photo tributes?
  • Are there family or friends that would need to travel?
  • If family will not be able to attend, would you like the service live-streamed or recorded?
  • Will you require catering after the funeral?

Burial OR Cremation

One of the first decisions you will need to make is the choice between burial and cremation. This is not a decision to be taken lightly or made quickly. Some people ensure their personal wishes are known to family members while they are still alive, but in some cases the family left behind must make the decision.


If you choose a burial, the next question to be decided is where this will take place. Is there an existing grave, or will a new plot be required?

There are two types of cemeteries: those owned by local authorities and those operated by trusts.

Burial at sea is a further option. There are only a few sites around New Zealand with the only one in the South Island off the coast of Christchurch.

Natural burials are now available in Dunedin at Green Park Cemetery. If you would like to find out more about natural burials


DCC Brochure


There are several advantages to cremation. One of the most significant is the lower cost. If the person has died overseas, cremation makes the repatriation of the ashes easier and less expensive.

It is also an appropriate choice where there is insufficient space in an established family burial plot to place a casket, but sufficient space for an ashes urn.

After a cremation there are a number of options available for the ashes, which we can discuss with you


Caring for you loved one

We  offer the full range of mortuary services ranging from simple washing, dressing, and casketing,  through to light embalming, eco-embalming and full embalming.   We have a fully equipped mortuary and cool room  on site, and our trained and qualified staff will look after your loved one with the utmost care and respect.

When discussing the options with  you we will take into account your wishes and also advise on what we believe would be the best option depending on the circumstances of the death, as well as the time frame for the  funeral service.

Venue Choices

Funerals can be held in many places, from traditional churches to informal locations.

Here at Gillions, we have a private chapel which you are most welcome to use. This is suitable for most funerals, from a small intimate family group through to a large gathering. The chapel seats 180 people, with standing room for a further 200. Our Carisbrook Room is ideal for smaller gatherings.


The outdoor canopy area and lounge are set up with closed-circuit television, so if the funeral crowd is large and people are standing in this area they can still participate fully in the service.

Adjacent to the area is a quiet, private room for family and friends to use as they wish.

Talk to us about the many options for funeral venues and your particular wishes. (Please be aware that your choice of venue may affect the delivery of some technical services.)

Funeral Celebrant

The person who officiates at a funeral service performs a vital role – ensuring the life of the deceased is appropriately celebrated and remembered. How this is achieved depends on the personality of the loved one and what they wanted for their funeral.

Where the deceased belonged to or was associated with a church, we will liaise with the parish priest or minister to arrange a suitable time and date.

There are also a number of funeral celebrants of various ages, both men and women, who can craft an appropriate service to reflect the personality of the deceased.

Another alternative is for a family member to officiate. In this event, liaising with us will ensure all the required services are appropriately organised.

We can advise you on your options and arrange to contact celebrants or clergy as required.