Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions people frequently ask with regards to funeral or cremation arrangements. If your question is not listed here, please do contact us and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

What is the difference between a Funeral Service and a Memorial Service?

  • A Funeral Service is when you typically have the deceased present in a casket at the service.
  • A Memorial Service is when you have a service either with or without ashes or a service for remembrance, so the deceased is not present physically but perhaps spiritually.


Memorial services are becoming increasingly popular they are now more widely accepted in NZ society and in some cases are the preferred option. Having a Memorial Service can be less stressful for the family as they can organise it in their own time. This allows them to personalise the Memorial Service, after the cremation has taken place they can look into booking a venue, and that could mean arranging a gathering at a family home or perhaps at church or other venue. Let us know if you need a celebrant to run your memorial service.

Depending on what your loved one’s interests were maybe a nature memorial at the beach or hiking up to a special place of remembrance. The list goes on maybe a boat charter to scatter ashes at sea or to inter ashes by means of planting a Memorial Tree.

What do I do when a death occurs at home?

When a loved one dies at home with support from hospice or palliative care services, the staff on duty will help with the formalities, such as notifying the treating doctor.  The staff from these services will help you and may even call us on your behalf to arrange for the transfer of the deceased into our care.

When a person dies at home and is not under any care from support services, the following steps need to be taken:

  • Contact the person’s usual doctor, who will need to officially verify that death has occurred and confirm that they are happy to sign the medical certificate of causes of death.
  • Notify family and friends that are not present.
  • Call Bay Cremation Care on 0800 777 433 to arrange for the transfer of the deceased into our care and to begin the funeral arrangement process.

What do I do when a death occurs in a nursing home or residential care facility?

These days many people die in a nursing home environment.  When this occurs, the nursing staff will take care of the medical formalities.  You will then need to call Bay Cremation Care on 0800 777 433 to arrange for the transfer of the deceased into our care, which usually takes place after liaising with the nursing home staff in regards to doctor’s attendance etc.

What do I do when a death occurs in a hospital?

When your loved one dies in a hospital, the following steps are taken:

  • The hospital staff will notify the treating doctor so that the medical death certificate can be completed;
  • They will notify the next of kin and family members who will need to contact the Funeral Director.
  • Bay Cremation Care will arrange for the transfer of the deceased person from the hospital into our care


Note that if a person dies in hospital as a result of an anaesthetic, the matter may be referred to the Coroner.

What do I do when someone dies unexpectedly?

Any death can be unexpected. Whether it occurs at home or in a public place, the death may be referred to the Coroner’s Office.

The Coroner is usually involved in the following situations:

  • If the person’s death was not expected at that time by the treating doctor, it needs to be thoroughly investigated, even if the doctor has an opinion about the cause of death;
  • If death occurs as a result of an accident or injury and the cause of death seems clear, the Coroner still needs to find out what happened. For example, a car accident may have been caused by the driver having a heart attack or by a fault in the car. Identifying what contributed to the accident allows preventative measures to be recommended;
  • Deaths that occur while people are in police custody, in jail, or are involuntary patients in psychiatric institutions need to be refereed to the Coroner. This also applies to children in juvenile justice centres;
  • If the person died in a violent or unnatural way;
  • If the person died during the result of an anaesthetic;
  • If a doctor has been unable to sign a death certificate giving the cause of death;
  • The identity of the person who has died is not known.


The process:

When someone dies unexpectedly as above, the police may become involved. Often an ambulance officer is the first person on the scene of a death. They may try to call the deceased’s GP, but may also require police and the Coroner’s involvement.

At this stage the police will contact the contracted funeral director to transport the deceased to the nearest hospital under the Coroner’s jurisdiction (for Tauranga and surrounding districts, this is Tauranga Hospital. However if a post-mortem is required, the deceased will be taken to either Rotorua or Waikato Hospital). The Coroner liaises between parties including police and the pathologist to establish the cause of death. Only after the Coroner has completed their paperwork is the body released to the family and funeral planning can begin.

You are not obliged to use the funeral director who transported the deceased to the Coroner after death. If you would like Bay Cremation Care to be involved at this time, please contact us.


Please contact us for advice, more information and to talk through what you need to do.

Who do I notify?

After a death has occurred, it is important to notify the following people:

  • The next of kin and family members
  • The family doctor to obtain a medical death certificate and/or the cremation certificate (not applicable if the coroner has been notified of the unexpected death)
  •  The solicitor or executor of the will – to execute the contents of the will.
  •  Your preferred Funeral Director – to arrange for the transfer of your loved one and to start making the funeral arrangements


Please contact Bay Cremation Care for advice, any further information and to talk through what you need to do next…

What clothing should I choose for my loved one?

A good starting point when choosing clothing for your loved one is respecting their dignity and considering what they may have chosen for themselves.

Where the death is expected, the deceased themselves may have already chosen what they would like to be dressed in. Otherwise, the family chooses clothing items.

The clothing that is chosen varies. Ideally, the clothing provided will include underwear. From there, the deceased person may be dressed in nightwear, casual wear or more formal clothing – something that reflects their personal style.

Phone: 0800 777 433
Fax: (07) 281 7791
PO Box 15513
Tauranga, 3144, New Zealand