Arranging a Funeral

Newspaper Notices

Usually the public will be notified of a death by the placement of a Death Notice in the newspaper. We will assist you to write this notice, and will then lodge it in the various newspapers, and on the days that you nominate.

Below is an example of what you may wish to consider.

Smith, Robert Henry (Rob) (Regt No 7564,
Sgt, 2nd NZEF) – on 24 June 2010.
Peacefully at home, aged 87 years.
Dearly loved husband of …
Loved and respected father and father-in-law of …
Much loved grandfather of …
Loved brother and brother-in-law of …
Loved by his nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to the hospice staff who cared for Rob over the past months. Your support has been greatly appreciated. (You may wish to thank specific people who have been outstanding in their help to you and your family.)
In lieu of flowers, donations to ABC Charity would be appreciated and may be made at the service. (If you would like people to send flowers, do not include the statement about donations.)
Messages to the Smith family may be sent c/- PO Box 472, Ashburton 7740.
(If you are concerned for security reasons to use your residential address you can use our PO Box number and we will forward mail to you as it arrives.)

Rob’s funeral service will be held in our chapel, cnr East and Cox Streets, Ashburton on Tuesday 30 June, at 10.00 am, followed by a private cremation.

Mementos, Music and Flowers

mementosUsing carefully chosen mementos at a funeral service can enhance the significant aspects of a person’s life, and help to create a very personal atmosphere at the service. Photos and flowers add to the ambience.


We will try to help you make the funeral a true reflection of the person that is being remembered. There are numerous ways to individualise the service and can include such things as:

– candles
– flags, sporting memorabilia
– RSA involvement, poppies, ‘The Last Post’
– balloons, butterflies, doves
– bagpipes
– photo-boards
– guard of honour

Some unusual mementos we have used in the past include:

– tractors , trucks
– vintage cars
– motor-bikes, bicycles
– boats


musicMusic speaks to our hearts – especially at a funeral service.

The music you select and the way that it is used helps to set the emotional tone of the service. Music can be played from a family CD or other electronic format, or from our extensive collection. Choirs, singers and soloists can also be arranged for a service if you wish.



We can arrange flowers for the funeral, on your behalf, using a professional florist. Alternatively you are welcome to use a florist of your choice or to provide your own flowers.

For the casket spray, families will often choose a favourite flower, or a combination of flowers and colours. A single flower or a bunch tied with ribbon are a simple alternative to a more formal arrangement. 

Some people include items that personalise the floral tribute; these sometimes include items such as vegetables, sports equipment or fabric butterflies.


Although traditionally friends have sent flowers to grieving families, it is now more common to invite donations to a relevant charity, to be made in memory of the deceased.

If you choose this option we will ensure that a donation box is available at the service, and will organise for the money collected to be delivered to the chosen recipient.

Visual Presentations

Paterson’s will create a slideshow of photos to reflect the life of your loved one.Such a presentation can be a meaningful way to share more memories and highlight a life. It can be shown before or during the funeral, accompanied by your own special music.

Visual presentations can be shown at Paterson’s chapel or at other venues as required. Equipment hire will be required at some venues.



Funeral cateringOffering refreshments after a funeral is regarded as an important aspect of the funeral service. This is a time for meeting up with family members and friends, sharing stories and recalling in greater detail the life of the person who has died. Sometimes it is an opportunity for a family reunion.

Paterson’s is fully equipped for this purpose and provides a spacious refreshment lounge to gather and share stories. Catering can also be provided at other venues.

Our funeral catering would normally include a selection of gourmet savouries, sandwiches and a range of cakes, complimented by tea, coffee and orange juice. However you may wish to talk to us about the style of food required, as we can cater for individual tastes and preferences. We often work with church groups who offer catering at their own locations. We are happy to assist them in any way.  Please note alcohol is not permitted on any of our premises.

Service Sheets, Memorial Book and Acknowledgement Cards

service sheetsService sheets (orders of service) may be printed for handing out at the funeral service. Sizes and styles range from the standard size through to bookmarks. Service sheets have now become a sought-after item at a funeral service.

Some families consider service sheets to be a gift to those who attend the service and many people will keep these as a memento families are encouraged to be involved in the design of these personalised service sheets, and will often use a range of photos to reflect a person’s life.

Memorial Book

If you would like to know everyone who has attended the funeral, you may find it useful to have a memorial book for people to sign.

We do our best to ensure that everyone signs the book either as they arrive for the funeral service or before they leave.

Acknowledgement Cards

Acknowledgement cards may feature the photo from the service sheets and can be printed for you to send out after the funeral.

These cards can be a nice way of acknowledging the support of family and friends.

Pall Bearers

pall bearersIf you are using pall bearers, it is best that you approach these people prior to the funeral service. Most friends will be honoured to assist you by helping to carry the casket at the funeral. This may also be a useful way to involve members of clubs or groups that were relevant to the deceased or to include other family members.

The usual way to carry the casket in New Zealand is at ‘arms length’. The method of carrying it up on the shoulder, although common in some other countries, tends to be reserved for full military or VIP funerals. However, there is no reason why it cannot be done in this way if that is what the family chooses. Regardless of which method is used, it is preferable for six people to be available as pall bearers.

Headstones, Plaques and Death Certificate

Paterson’s can provide advice and assistance regarding the selection and purchase of headstones and plaques. We are able to refer you to local Monumental Masons who specialise in this service.

Death Certificate

Death certificate

After the funeral Paterson’s electronically registers the death of the person who has died. Following this online registration, Births, Deaths and Marriages processes it and posts the death certificate to the nominated person, who is most often an executor of the estate, usually within five to ten working days.

We are legally required to include certain information when registering a death. We obtain this information from you while making the funeral arrangements with you. It is important that this information is accurate as far as possible.

If the death has been referred to the Coroner, you will notice the words ‘subject to coroner’s findings’ in the cause of death section. This means that the official cause of death was not available at the time we registered the death. It is possible to update the death certificate once the Coroner has concluded his or her enquiries and ascertained the cause of death.


The funeral account

Every funeral invoice from Paterson’s is individualised. It will generally include professional service fees, mortuary services, vehicle transfers and a casket. Other items may be included and will be itemised such as: crematorium and cemetery fees, ashes and memorial fees, doctor’s fees, newspaper notices, flowers, printing, catering, a death certificate, gratuities and donations, multimedia and audiovisual, and monumental options.

An estimate

With every funeral we will give you an estimate of the costs of the funeral that you have arranged with your funeral director.

The payment due date

After the funeral we wait up to 10 days before sending the itemised funeral account to the address that you have indicated as appropriate. The due date for payment, which will be advised on the invoice, will be about four weeks from the day of the funeral or from when the services are rendered. An account service fee is added to every account. If the invoice is paid by the due date, this fee will be deducted.

Overdue accounts

Failure to make payments by the due date may result in additional recovery costs and recovery steps being taken.

Financial assistance

Paterson’s offers a full range of services to accommodate most budgets. Please ring us to discuss your specific requirements. We can advise on the range of assistance available for families requiring help with funeral costs. Assistance and advice can be given on the closing of bank accounts and applications for funeral grants from Work and Income and the Accident Compensation Corporation.