Our experienced team are ready to help and nothing is too much trouble.
With our small, totally committed team of 10, we offer a very personalised service.
From guiding you through the options available to organising a funeral service that fulfills your loved one’s wishes and is special and meaningful for family and friends, the same qualified Academy Funeral Services person will be with you all the way through.
We have a beautiful warm and welcoming lounge and reception area as well as a modern stylish chapel room for funeral services at our recently renovated space in Riccarton, Christchurch.
The following information is provided to help you with your decisions and we are always available to answer any questions you may have.
Your Funeral Checklist
BEFORE THE FUNERAL
Before the Funeral
WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE THE FUNERAL?
- 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 Academy Funerals 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).
Academy Funerals are proud members of the FDANZ, you can depend on 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 Academy Funerals 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, Academy Funerals 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 Donation
The 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. Academy Funerals 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.
Academy Funerals 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.
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.
THE FUNERAL CEREMONY
The Funeral Ceremony
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE CEREMONY
Things You Should Think About
After the death of a family member or close friend, it is important to know that you can depend on experienced, professional people to make all the arrangements to ensure the funeral flows smoothly.
It is important that you choose the funeral ceremony that is right for you and your family. Academy Funerals can guide you through the choices available, and will take care of all the details. Our caring team of professionals will liaise with clergy and celebrants, doctors, hospitals, government departments, coroners and other officials, crematoriums and cemetery authorities so you don’t have to worry.
We can also arrange music and musicians including an organist, place notices in the newspapers, and provide vehicles, order family flowers, organise the audio or video/DVD recording of the service, arrange the placement of ashes and memorials, and anything else you require.
Staff at Academy Funerals are available to speak to local community groups and schools about funerals, and we are also pleased to host community groups at our premises.
Making The Right Choices
Academy Funerals can explain the choices available:
- The different types of ceremony, religious or otherwise.
- The best location for the service: a church or chapel, at home, at the graveside.
- Who should officiate: a priest, minister, celebrant or family members.
- Whether you want to view the deceased, and where the viewing should be.
- Whether you want to have a burial or cremation.
- Whether you want flowers or charitable donations.
- The most appropriate funeral notice.
- Casket selection.
- The order of service, the choice of music and hymns.
- Venue for a post-funeral get together and how to arrange it.
- What other professional help is available.
Taking Care Of Details
Once the choices are made, it is up to you how little or how much you want our professional and experienced staff to help with arrangements. We can take care of the following details:
- The registration of death and necessary documentation.
- Contacting appropriate burial or cremation authorities, as well as contacting the doctor, coroner or hospital and collection of certificates.
- Arranging national or international transportation or repatriation within New Zealand or any other country.
- Liaising with clergy or funeral celebrants, assisting with the service and organizing funeral details.
- The provision and preparation of the casket, which you can select from our onsite showroom.
- Embalming to ensure hygienic preservation and natural presentation.
- Providing viewing facilities in comfortable premises.
- Ordering family flowers for the casket.
- Providing transport to and from the funeral in our fleet of hearses and cars.
- Preparing and placing newspaper notices locally or internationally.
- Arranging monumental masonry for the memorial stone.
- Arranging the scattering or burial of ashes, as well as providing quality urns.
These days many people wish to make the funeral a special celebration of someone’s life, and the ceremony or service has become much more personalised and individual.
At Academy Funerals our staff have been involved in guiding many families through numerous personal remembrances where people want to do things differently, with special meaning to the deceased and to his or hers family and friends.
For example, in the days after death leading up to the funeral, family members often choose to have the deceased at home or on a marae. This is popular with both Maori and Pacific Island families, as well as with New Zealanders of all ethnicities who find great comfort from this experience.
If family and friends are traveling from overseas for the funeral it may be necessary to delay the service, in which case embalming may be recommended.
The funeral ceremony is important for family and friends to share their sorrow, and is an opportunity to celebrate the life of the person who has passed – to remember the good times, the humorous moments, their favourite music, their unique contributions, and to hear tributes and stories from people of all ages. It is good for children to be involved too, if they have been part of the deceased’s life.
Some of the important elements in designing a funeral service are:
- Movement – how the casket is transported during the service, who will carry it; and whether you want special music, movement, dancing or a guard of honour.
- Symbols – things that carry meaning and demonstrate what was important to the person who has passed, such as flowers from their garden, books and poems, candles, photographs, videos or a bible.
- Music – what music they most enjoyed. This can vary from classical to rock, country to opera, hymns to pop music.
PowerPoint technology is also available for the showing of photographs and visual mementoes. A Piper, bugler or soloist can be included into the service.
Whether you need to plan a funeral now or pre-plan for the future, we are happy to provide you with a free funeral pack which contains material about Academy Funerals and the professional services we offer.
It is impossible to sum up a life story in a few minutes. However, we can tell stories and recall memories in valuable and creative ways.
A eulogy is a time where we can talk about our loved one and remember who they were. It is a summary which covers important or interesting aspects of the deceased’s life.
You might like to include important ‘milestones’ – births and marriages, significant moves and changes of career. At other times, a story or a little historical background may be appropriate. The formative years of the deceased’s life, including their childhood and schooling may also be covered and they may have had a particular spiritual outlook or a favourite book or poem which can also be included.
The eulogy should act as a springboard for others to call to mind their own special memories. So talk about your feelings for this special person – tell some stories about your experiences with him or her. Anecdotes are a special way to celebrate life – there is no reason to avoid the things that were amusing or even mildly irreverent!
Many immediate family members may understandably feel unable to speak publicly themselves, yet have important things to say. Check with them and if they want to offer a few words or a precious memory, include these too in the eulogy.
Below are some guidelines:
- Birthplace and short details of early childhood.
- Educational and sporting achievements, military service.
- Marriage and family life.
- Hobbies, club memberships, charity involvement.
- Preferences in music, literature, theatre, etc.
- Characteristic words and sayings.
- Personal qualities (perhaps illustrated by stories).
People often ask how long a eulogy should be – really it should be as long or as short as you wish but normally 10 minutes (a couple of typed A4 pages) is appropriate.
DVD Or Photo Presentations
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – and that is often true. Many families like to display some photographs or other life symbols at the funeral service. Photographs need not be recent, provided they are characteristic of a person’s life. Sometimes, a family photo or other group shot can be just the thing to capture someone’s personality.
At Academy Funerals, our in-house service enables us to organise photos and arrange music so that everything is ready for the service.
Other items, like a favourite hat, prized trophy, tennis racquet or golf club, can all help symbolise a life. Sometimes, family members like to bring these symbolic items with them, and place them on or near the casket before or after the eulogy.
Finally, a carefully chosen piece of music can provide a pleasant reflective space after the eulogy. This may reflect the personal taste of the deceased, or simply be a track that the family find helpful for themselves.
How Much Does A Funeral Cost?
This depends entirely on your choice of casket and additional items such as flowers, newspaper notices, cemetery or cremation fees, and catering. These form part of the account and will vary according to the choices made.The funeral firm will also charge for its services – for making all the arrangements, use of hearses and other cars, and other professional services provided.
Please talk to us at Academy Funerals so that we can provide a service to suit both your needs and your financial circumstances. We are more than happy to provide a free no obligation quote.
If you have any financial worries, please let us know as soon as possible. There are agencies we can refer you to, such as Work and Income, where a funeral grant may be available depending on your level of assets and income. If the death was caused by an accident, ACC may be able to help.
Other entitlements are available for ex-service personnel and their families.
How Can I Pay If The Estate Is Still Tied Up?
When a death occurs, bank accounts in the name of the deceased are frozen and, in some cases, cannot be accessed until after Probate is granted. To ensure ongoing access by a partner, it is better for the bank accounts to be in joint names. When settlement of an estate is delayed by lack of Probate, families should pay the funeral account by the due date and recover the funds from the estate when it is settled.
Most funeral firms send the account directly to the family and, if required, will send a copy to the solicitor.
The person making the arrangements with the funeral director remains responsible for paying the account.
We will always sit down and discuss the Estimate of Financial Details. This includes receiving instructions concerning funeral arrangements, personal care and attention of deceased, embalming/mortuary care, obtaining the death certificate from the Doctor, preparing necessary documentation, attending to registration of death, provision of funeral home facilities and services, further transfers, after hours fees, paying disbursements and conducting other services in accordance with instructions.
The account will be dated the day of the funeral and will be posted within approximately seven (7) days after the funeral. An Administration Fee is charged on all accounts, but if the account is paid within 21 days from the invoice date this will be deducted.
Unless specific arrangements have been made, the due date for full payment is 28 days from invoice date. If the invoice has not paid after 28 days this account becomes overdue and there will be penalties charged for late payment.
At Academy Funerals we are proud to be able to accommodate most budgets. There are Funeral Grants available through ACC and WINZ, and we are happy to advise you of the options that may be available to you.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE FUNERAL
Grief is our natural response to loss in our lives. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and people experience the grieving process differently.
When a loved-one dies, family and friends can find it difficult to cope with the tremendous grief they experience, and can be unprepared for important decisions and arrangements that need to be made.
Academy Funerals understands the needs of families and friends going through the stress of bereavement. After the funeral they offer a free book, ‘Now What?’ A guide for people living with the death of someone close, written by highly regarded Grief Counsellor, Lois Tonkin. A colourful poster called ‘Remembering to Live’ is also available for children.
Complimentary Bereavement Support
At Academy Funerals we are committed to providing ongoing care and support to our bereaved families. Grief takes time.
Bereavement support does not replace family and friends but rather compliments them as part of a full support system.
Who can use this service?
Any member of a family who has chosen Academy Funerals for the funeral arrangements for their loved one can use this support service. We will contact you a few weeks after the funeral to see how you are coping, however if you wish to speak with us before this, please feel free to do so.
Ways to help yourself through grief:
- Exercise regularly – choose an activity that you enjoy.
- Maintain a balanced diet and take supplements if you need to.
- Structure your time. Keep routines as normal as possible (especially where children are concerned) – prepare a list of things to do.
- Spend time with others and also allow yourself some time out.
- Do things that make you feel good.
- Talk to people. Express your emotions clearly and honestly to those you trust.
- Write down some of your thoughts or feelings.
- Limit your use of drugs or alcohol.
- Keep important decisions for a later time. Your judgement may for the moment be impaired. Take your time.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Above all, be GENTLE with yourself!
ACC Funeral Grant
When someone dies as a result of an injury, ACC can help towards the costs of the burial or cremation and related ceremonies. A funeral grant can be paid for both New Zealanders and overseas visitors to New Zealand. The funeral does not have to be in New Zealand, and this grant can also be used for memorial costs if the body is not recovered.
Academy Funerals Directors are able to help with advice and assistance on the particular services available.
To read more please click on the ACC link below or talk to a team member. ACC Funeral Grant
Work And Income Funeral Grant
A funeral grant can help pay for some of the costs when someone close to you has died. Academy Funerals are able to help with advice and assistance on the particular services available.
To read more please click on the Work and Income NZ link below or talk to a team member. Work and Income NZ
Great layout, lovely place, very respectful staff.
Academy are deeply involved in supporting the local community to allow for open discussions around death and make the whole funeral service industry more approachable. Find out who we are currently supporting.
INTERESTED IN FUNERAL PRE-PLAN
Fill in the form below & we will send you our Funeral Information pack which includes pre-planning information too.
The team at Academy Funeral services helped us get through our most difficult times. I just want to say thank you to George and the team for all their work... read moreThe team at Academy Funeral services helped us get through our most difficult times. I just want to say thank you to George and the team for all their work in sending Grand dad on his farewell journey. read less
Professional and Genuine people
I have had the pleasure of working with Brent Ruru and the team at Academy Funeral Services. They make every effort to ensure that the grieving family and friends are... read moreI have had the pleasure of working with Brent Ruru and the team at Academy Funeral Services. They make every effort to ensure that the grieving family and friends are taken care of. As an independent celebrant, it is always a pleasure to work along side them.
Professional, caring and empathetic. read less