What is a Funeral

Simply stated a funeral is the service or gathering held after someone’s death. In addition to this ceremony it also includes other activities such as viewing and ultimately the burial or cremation of the body. Throughout history, society has held funerals to help those affected by the death make sense of what has happened and come to terms with the loss they have experienced. When someone we love dies it is difficult to put into words how we feel and express our feelings. A funeral helps us to do this.

When the various elements of a funeral come together in a meaningful way it provides an experience which is transformative for those impacted by the loss. Traditionally, these elements have involved some sort of ritual, such as the formal rites of the church, but in modern times funerals have evolved to now include additional forms of expression such as using music, focusing on the life of the deceased and telling their story, the sharing of food and more. A good funeral uses a variety of elements to provide you with the space, time and support needed to work through your grief in a helpful, healthy way.

Planning a funeral can seem overwhelming when you consider the many options available. There is always a lot to be done in a short space of time, and you are making these decisions at a time when you might be feeling overwhelmed. Be assured, we are here to help you at each step of the process.

Where to Start

We’ll make things simple

We take you through the funeral process a step at a time. We explain things as we go and answer each and every one of your questions. Our philosophy is; ‘Nothing is too much trouble’, so tell us exactly what you want and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.

Your first steps

Contact family members to help you with the decision making

Being with those closest to you is a great comfort. Work out when everyone involved with the funeral arrangements can get together, especially if family members are out of town.

Phone Dil’s

It’s amazing how much difference one call can make. First, we’ll answer any questions you have. Then we’ll arrange to bring the deceased to our funeral home. We’ll also set a time and place to meet with you and those involved in making the funeral arrangements.

Helpful things to do or consider before we meet with you.

Give some thought to what sort of funeral you’d like

When arranging a funeral quite a few decisions need to be made in a short space of time. To make things less stressful it’s really helpful to think ahead. Apart from a few legal requirements there are no real rules you have to obey. So it comes down to personal choice. Whatever you want, we’ll do our best to ensure it happens.

Points to consider

  • Where and when will the service be?
  • What type of service – burial, cremation, public, private, traditional or unique?
  • Who will officiate – celebrant, minister or friend?
  • Does anyone wish to view?
  • Does anyone have any special requests?

Generally, there will be lots of people wanting to help at this time. A bit of delegation could help spread the load because there are many tasks that need doing, such as: choosing clothing for the deceased, selecting music, choosing photographs for service sheets or video tributes, and writing the newspaper notice.

Find Birth and/or Marriage Certificates

To register the death with the Births, Deaths and Marriages office you’ll need to provide us with the details found on the Birth and Marriage Certificates.

Check the will

This often contains instructions for the funeral. You might also advise the solicitor or executor of the death if you haven’t already done so.

Put your feet up

The funeral process can be trying and chances are you’re already tired, so it’s important you only do what you feel you can cope with. Don’t hesitate to ask us to help out. We can step in and support you all along the way.

Help is only a phone call away

We’re here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At Dil’s, you always have someone to talk to. If you’re worried about anything; if there’s some detail you think you’ve overlooked; or if you simply need assurance, call us on +64 9 415 8720.

Why have a funeral?

“I don’t want any fuss.” “When I’m dead just cremate me and get on with your life”. Some people think they’re making it easy for others when they say things like that. But what they don’t realise is that a funeral service is actually for the living not the dead.

Funerals give families and friends an opportunity to gather, remember and celebrate. Having people around you can be incredibly supportive when you’re dealing with a loss. When families work closely together to create a beautiful funeral the overall experience can be uplifting.

Yes, of course, it can be painful, sad and emotional. But it can also be wonderfully positive when the past achievements of a loved one are remembered, when little known facts are revealed, and tales told.

A funeral is also a very good way for everyone to actually cope with a death. The funeral preparations, the getting together of family and friends at the service, the shared memories, the final farewell, are all important steps that can help you make sense of what has just happened.

If people don’t want any fuss when they’ve gone, their funeral can be true to their wishes. It can be extremely simple and private. Or, if they want an elaborate send off where everyone they’ve ever known is invited, we’ll organise that too. What is important is that those left behind have a chance to gather, remember and celebrate - to say goodbye - in some meaningful way. At Dil’s you’re in total control. What you want is what we’ll do our best to deliver.

In our experience, New Zealanders tend to want a funeral service that is honest and reflective of life. Often, reasonably informal, they want a service that is focused on the deceased not on the ritual. They want to be left with good memories of that person, the joy of catching up with old friends, and a realisation that life is precious and should be lived to the full.

Understanding bereavement, loss, grief and mourning

Throughout our lives we experience losses of various kinds. Most of them are just part of day-to-day living; often we can replace the thing we have lost. We may feel sad for a time, but adjust to the new situation and cope well.

When someone we love dies, they can never be replaced. We lose not only their physical presence, but also their love and friendship. Our world may be turned upside down. Our feelings may see-saw from shock and numbness to anger, disbelief, loneliness or even depression.

How we express our feelings – how we grieve and mourn – varies tremendously from person to person. We may cry, be silent, talkative or withdrawn. We may busy ourselves with a host of tasks and activities to fill the gap; or we may go quietly about our lives as if nothing has happened.


Bereavement is the name given to the experience we have when someone close to us dies. During the time of bereavement, which may be months or even years (and probably won’t ever go away completely), we suffer all the pains of loss and grief.

We’re all individuals and we all grieve in different ways. However, the services we offer may give you the opportunity to grieve and mourn naturally and not bottle up your feelings.


When someone close to us dies, we lose their love, friendship and physical presence. This loss can be painful for us and we usually look for ways to make the pain go away. To be healthy, happy people again we have to acknowledge and accept this loss.

Although we don’t have the physical presence of the person we loved anymore, we do have all the memories, photographs and mementoes of the times, places and things we shared together. These memories may at first be painful reminders of our loss, but in time they can provide comfort.


Grief is the collection of the many different feelings and emotions we experience when someone close to us dies. Experts have told us that we may experience shock, numbness, disbelief, a feeling of “why me” or “surely not, it can’t be true”, anger, guilt, frustration, yearning, loneliness, depression and hopefully a gradual acceptance that there is nothing we can do to change what has happened.


Mourning is the term used when we give expression to our grief. “Grief gone public” as it has been described. One important aspect of a funeral is to provide an opportunity for you to outwardly express your grief in a supportive and caring environment.

During the funeral experience, and also as required afterwards we encourage you to express your feeling of grief. Crying, feeling sad and talking about the person who has died are common ways we mourn.

For many people, talking about something we wish had not happened helps us to accept that it has happened. Therefore, in the days and weeks after the death if you want to cry, talk, or just have silent thoughts about the one you love, do so, don’t be embarrassed. It is alright – it’s normal behaviour.

A new normal

Some use the term “closure” as being the goal of your bereavement experience. Rather than closure, which implies forgetting the person you love and moving on without them, we would suggest a better definition is to find your “new normal”. Things cannot be as they were before the death, but you can find a place that feels ok (even good), allows you to move forward with your life (without your loved one), and yet, retains all the positive aspects and qualities this special relationship provided.

When someone you love dies it hurts, it’s difficult to deal with and accept, but you have the capacity to make sense of this experience and will eventually be ok. As you go through your journey we offer our support and encouragement.