We are right here to help you in your time of need.

Need support now?

When a loved one

passes away.

If you need urgent support or just have a question, our team is here for you every step of the way. When a loved one passes, it can be overwhelming to think of the things that need to be done, and decisions that need to be made - all while dealing with your own loss. That's where we can help.

how to find us

What to do in the

first hours and days.

My loved one has passed. What do I do now?

Take a deep breath. If you are not in an emergency situation, take a moment to pause and process what has happened. When someone dies it's important to let the right people know as soon as you’re able to.

The authorities you'll need to contact will depend on how the person died, as each situation will be handled differently. You may also need to tell family, whānau, friends and the person's employer if they were working.

If the death is unexpected, or you’re not in a hospital, hospice or rest home, phone 111 and ask for an ambulance and police.

My loved one passed in a hospital, hospice or rest home.

If death occurs at a hospital, hospice or rest-home, the medical staff onsite will arrange for a doctor to visit and certify death. Once the certification has happened, we can start making plans for your loved one. Usually, you’ll be able to stay with them, until you feel ready to take the next steps.

My loved one passed at home.

If your loved one has died at home and the death was expected, you will need to phone their doctor to confirm the cause of death. If the expected death happened overnight, you can wait till morning if you’re comfortable to do so.

If the cause of death is known and from natural causes, the doctor will then be able to complete a medical certificate of cause of death. You must have this certificate before we can move forward with burial or cremation plans.

In most cases, you will be able to stay with your loved one until the time is right to move them.

My loved one passed unexpectedly.

When someone dies unexpectedly, you’ll need to phone 111 and ask for an ambulance and police.

If a doctor can confirm that the death is due to natural causes they may be able to complete a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

In all other cases the police will refer the death to a coroner. The coroner has to confirm the identity of the person who died, how they died and what led to their death.

The coroner will decide if a post mortem (autopsy) is required to determine the cause of death. A pathologist (specially trained doctor) will try to do a post mortem as soon as possible - usually it's the next working day.

For some cultures and religions it's important to stay with the body or have the body returned quickly.

You can speak to us, or the coroner about the options available for you and your family.

What is a coroner and do I need one?

If the cause of death is not obvious, or suspected to be from unnatural causes, further investigation may be required. In this case the doctor will need to report the death to a coroner.

A coroner is a legal officer who has the duty to establish the cause of death in certain circumstances.

A coroner and the police may become involved when:

  • A doctor is unavailable or unable to establish the cause of death
  • There is a sudden unexpected death
  • Death occurs from other than natural causes
  • There is an accidental death
  • There has been no recent consultation with a medical practitioner.

In these cases it is important that the deceased is not moved or disturbed in any way without the permission of the Coroner.

Please phone us as soon as you wish for any assistance in this regard, and remember that it is the family’s right to choose their own funeral director once the Coroner’s duties are completed.

My loved one has passed overseas, or needs to return overseas.

When someone dies overseas you will need to contact the nearest New Zealand Embassy or Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade office. They can guide you through the options and costs for local services.

Bringing ashes back to New Zealand.

There are no customs restrictions to bring or send ashes back to New Zealand, but you may need to confirm that an airline or other carrier can transport the ashes for you. You will also need a copy of either the death or cremation certificate with the ashes.

Bringing a body back to New Zealand.

There are some customs restrictions to bring a body back to New Zealand. Please reach out to us as we can work with you and to make these arrangements.

Sending a body overseas.

If a person dies in New Zealand and needs to be returned overseas, we can work with you to make these arrangements, liaising with the funeral director where your loved one is being returned to.

What official paperwork is needed?

Just as it is a legal requirement to register births and marriages, it is also a legal requirement to register a death. Your funeral director will ask the family for details that are required by the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington, where records are kept. The funeral director has a duty to ensure the details are accurate and that they are forwarded to the Department in a timely fashion. Some time after the funeral, the funeral director will deliver the official death certificate to the family.

The records gathered by the Department of Internal Affairs are useful for those who are interested in genealogy, as well as for the government when assembling statistics for planning purposes.

Can I get a grief counsellor?

Yes. Referral to a grief counsellor is part of our service. We are here to support you in any way we can, and for some people, a specialised grief counsellor can provide extra support and assistance during the difficult mourning period, or following the funeral service.

Meet your team.

However we can help, we will. Our kind, caring and experienced team are here to be your go to, handling all aspects of funeral and grief care.

Learn More

Here's how we

can help.

Personalised services.

Curate a funeral that captures their life.

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Funeral care pricing.

A cost guide for any budget.

Learn more
Grief support.

Need an extra shoulder to lean on?

Learn more

Sherri, Amanda and Colleen.

September 20, 2023

Thank you Don, it was a lovely service and you and your team were extremely kind, patient and professional. The flowers were beautiful too and we loved the way you incorporated the sunflowers into the service. Special thanks also to the caterer, very nice. Dad couldn’t have asked for a better day. Thank you ever so much.

David J.

September 4, 2023

Without hesitation, my family and I highly recommend Jono. His attention to detail and inclusive and supportive style meant we were able to develop and deliver a most fitting service for our mother. Many nice touches along the way, totally dependable and very accessible - we could not have wished for more.

Monique B.

July 24, 2020

My dad was a very special man, so his funeral care could not be second-rate. Selecting Legacy Funerals was a no-brainer. Top class service was delivered. Additionally, the fact that all profits from Legacy Funerals go back to the community is incredible. As I said... a no-brainer. Thank you Legacy.

Pam M.

January 2, 2019

Our father died in January 2019. We opted for Legacy funerals because we were keen to support a business whose profits would flow back into the community. However it was the skill with which Fergus helped us sift through the various funeral options, his support of our family at that time and the seamless organisation on the day that has prompted this review. A delicate time for our family, handled in a caring and skilful way. Thanks.


June 1, 2022

Just wanted to leave a thank you for the team for taking good care of me during the loss of my mum. Was a very tough time, and it was a long weekend when other places weren't answering the phone. I think the service was reasonably priced and the team were easy to deal, just took some pressure of me. Thank you Don and the team.