Our third year

In 2014, our third year, families have continued to be more involved in the funeral process and arrangements. They have led their own services, built coffins, back filled graves and witnessed cremations.

This year over half our families led their own funeral ceremonies. We provided resources and encouragement and they brought their own style and familiar family references. Services ranged from tight gatherings with a few, well-chosen words, personal readings and impromptu input from the ‘floor’ to a lecture style delivery with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation. All overcame their initial nervousness and expressed an overwhelming sense of satisfaction afterwards.

Families put thought into the personal touches, giving funeral guests token mementoes; walnuts from his tree, her favourite slice recipe, wine corks saved from his convivial parties over the years and individual keys from his hoard of keyboards from a lifetime of working with computers.

More families have constructed their own coffins this year for cremation and burial, including a spectacular wooden dinghy. In response, we have published a web page; ‘Homegrown Coffins’ with guidelines on design and maximum dimensions.

Families opting for a natural burial can now build their own coffins but must adhere to the principles of using biodegradable materials; untreated timber, minimal metal fixings, non-toxic glues or varnishes and natural fibres for the interior.

To commemorate over one hundred burials at Wellington’s natural burial cemetery in Makara, we joined together with families, the Wellington City Council and other Wellington based funeral companies to plant trees donated by Auckland coffin company, Return to Sender.

This is part of the continued development and enhancement of the natural cemetery by the WCC. Trees planted for the first burials are thriving and now a well established area of native bush. Thank you to Mark Blackham for having the vision and determination to set up Natural Burials.

We have taken the opportunity to visit our coffin suppliers: Return to Sender, our natural choice for contemporary coffins, in their new premises in Three Kings in Auckland; TaylorMade, who make traditionally shaped, solid timber coffins with sustainable origins in the Wairarapa and our locals, Down to Earth on Thorndon Quay for their expertly handcrafted coffins. We now stock willow coffins woven by ‘Go Willow’, a co-operative in Golden Bay.

Thank you to all our suppliers and service providers, for understanding the nature of the business, for your thoughtful customer care, professional and prompt service ~ for being part of the B&M funeral team.