A funeral director holding a jar of cash in a church with a coffin in the background.
Research report
3 August 2017


Will you be able to foot the bill for your final farewell?

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Leo L.
15 Jan 2020
Insurance worthwhile?

TV ads for funeral insurance are bountiful. It may be worthwhile to investigate and compare these, as it seems quite a lucrative market and it is uncharted territory for Consumer. I have noticed some very pushy companies out there, extremely eager to sign anyone up!

Consumer staff
16 Jan 2020
Re: Insurance worthwhile?

Hi Leo,

Thank you for your comments. I have passed these onto our research team for them to consider.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Jonathan W.
25 Jun 2019
Cost averages - two categories

From what I can tell, the average cost of a funeral seems to be derived by lumping cremation and burial together. Do you know what the average funeral with cremation is worth vs average cost of a funeral with a burial. Do you have these separate numbers available?

Consumer staff
27 Jun 2019
Re: Cost averages - two categories

Hi Jonathan,

Unfortunately, we don’t have an average cost for cremations. Costs vary by area, depending on local council charges. However, cremations are typically a cheaper option than burials.

Kind regards,

Natalie - Consumer NZ staff

Gaye Oldham
08 Aug 2017
No Funeral Required for me thanks

I have put in my will that I do not want a funeral, I do not want a church service full stop. I have advised my family, (brothers and sisters) of this. All I want is to be cremated and ashes tossed wherever they can be tossed free of charge. I certainly do NOT want my family lumbered with any charges. I did some investigations on this when I was living in Auckland and even with all my "I do not wants" the cost would still be $1000 to $2000 - I think this is outrageous. I cant imagine what the cost would now be that I am living in Northland. I think it is incredibly unfair for family members to be lumbered with these costs.

Kas S.
05 Aug 2017
Shame on Some Funeral Directors.

I was ok having to pay $200 for the funeral home to collect my dad from the family home after he passed away and take him to their residence, and I was also ok with the second $200 cost of taking him from the funeral home to the Council crematorium where we had a little service, but I gave in arguing when I was flat out informed that the eco or cardboard coffin we wanted was going to cost way more than the cheapest wood ones with one excuse claimed they still needed strengthening etc. I didn't want a $4,000 coffin that was going to be burnt but I wasn't given any other choice. Far as I'm now concerned, my partner can just throw me over the back fence into the ditch after I've left this world. Left me totally unimpressed with their service.

Ruth & Stephan R.
05 Aug 2017
A couple of queries

If you transfer the body from the place of death you will also need to fill out a transfer of charge of body form (BDM39) - I believe this is only necessary if you're uplifting the body from a hospital or other public place.

A death certificate can be obtained from Births, Deaths and Marriages New Zealand. There is a $33 fee. Was $26 in June; has it gone up so much in that short time?

Previous member
07 Aug 2017
Re: A couple of queries

Kia ora Ruth & Stephan,

Thank you for your queries. It is currently $33 to get a death certificate, however you can get a printout of a certificate for $25. It is cheaper than the actual certificate but is not a legal document.

The transfer of the body is an interesting one. The Department of Internal Affairs requires a BDM39 when the body is moved from the place of death. The department also requires the “person in charge of the body” to retain this form as evidence that responsibility for the body is apparent. The DIA requires the form for any movement from the place of death that isn’t to a funeral director. This is to provide a paper trail of who is taking responsibility for the body of the deceased.

Hope this helps,
Robert Kelly - Consumer NZ writer

Maurice M.
05 Aug 2017
Four easy ways to save money

One: If you have to transport the body to another place see if you can get a family member or friend to provide a station wagon. Example, cost to transport a body from Whangarei qouted at $2500 by undertaker. Even hiring a vehicle is going to save at lest $2000.
Two: Demand you do your own projection show if you are going to have pictures at the ceremony/service. Undertakers have a propietry system. Do your own power point, music on a borrowed projector and save$300.
Three: Don't embalm and makeup, chill is cheaper by $700
Four: Get a coffin from an alternate source. Recent example family bought independently for $650.Undertaker qoute cheapest $950

Dugald W.
05 Aug 2017
Another alernative

As a minister I've seen many families struggling to pay funeral costs. One option I favour is direct cremation which cuts cost considerably. The deceased is cremated without embalming and without viewing and the family simply have the ashes to deal with. A memorial service can be held without a casket. Costs will no doubt vary but usually under $3,000.

Laraine B.
05 Aug 2017
This is more or less what I have instructed my heirs to do, Dugald

Cardboard coffin, no embalming and straight to the crematorium for cremation. No funeral, though I'm happy for them to have a family get-together in one of their homes. Photos and memories are all they need. The same goes for friends.