What should you do when someone dies?

In a hospital or rest home

When death occurs in a care facility or Hospital, we will arrange for all the necessary legal documentation to be completed.

You or the care provider can inform us of the death and arrange a convenient time to transfer the person to the funeral home

The Rest Home usually records residents wishes in relation to end of life process making the persons instructions clear to them. It also allows the transfer process to occur with ease.

Sudden accidental or unexpected

The first and most important step is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It might mean that Ambulance or doctor is called. If the cause of death cannot be confirmed by a medical professional, it is their responsibility to notify the Police. The Police will notify the Coroner Contact the coronial offices | Coronial Services of New Zealand ( If the death is accidental the Coroner will launch an investigation.

Thereafter, the person should not be moved as it is the role of the Police to examine the place of death and ascertain the background and circumstances.

The next step is to contact us. It is important to note that when the Police engage the contracted “Transport Provider” (In some cases a funeral home is contracted to provide the service) to transfer the person from the place of death, it is your right to contact us so we can attend to the funeral arrangements on your behalf.

The Coroner will ascertain the cause of death which may involve a post-mortem examination.

We will also contact the coroner’s office and liaise with them over the duration. On completion of the coronial post mortem we will be contacted, and the person is released into our care.

At home

If a relative or friend dies at home the first person you should contact is their doctor. If the doctor treated the person in the last month or so, the Doctor may be able to confirm the cause of death and issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. The next step is to contact us, and we will arrange a convenient transfer time and make the necessary funeral arrangements at another time if you wish. You can contact us if you are unsure and we will help you through the steps.

Out of town or overseas

Contact us at your earliest convenience. Our focus will be to get your family member or friend back to their town or country of origin with our simple and easy process so that you can focus on your needs and requirements at the same time. You will be fully informed on what progress has been made once the preliminary repatriation arrangements have been finalised.

Location is not an issue as we have been asked to direct funerals in many locations across the North Island.

When should you call us?

Regardless of the circumstances we are here to help!

It is important that you contact us as soon as practicable. We will offer advice when you need it and keep you fully informed. We will guide you through the steps of the funeral arrangements in a caring and professional manner.

Should a death occur in the evening there is no reason to be rushed! It is your right to take as long as you need. It is easy for us to take your telephone call the next day and guide you through the necessary steps. 

HERE FOR YOU 24/7 (06) 323 7062

HERE FOR YOU 24/7 (06) 323 7062

The days that follow


Viewing is a very personal experience. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not they wish to spend time viewing prior to the funeral service. People have often commented later how it had helped them to gain an acceptance that a loved one had died and how pleased they were that they had. It may also be helpful for children to view.

Some people wish to spend time with a loved one at the Funeral Home while others may wish to have loved ones at home in familiar surroundings. If at the time of the arrangements you are undecided about viewing please do not hesitate to discuss your thoughts and feelings with your Funeral Director.

At William Cotton & Sons we encourage families to discuss these options and we are happy to answer any questions that may arise.

Family arriving at the service

Some families wish to arrive early to greet people as they arrive at the funeral service. Others prefer to arrive shortly before the start of the service because they find it difficult to face a lot of people. The Funeral Director may advise you prior to the service where to park on your arrival at the service and will be there to meet you and to show you to your seats.

Emotional support

The funeral service is an important first step in 'saying goodbye' to a loved one. As you begin to work through your grief the road ahead may seem long and lonely.

There is a range of counselling services that are available for family/whanau to help during a family bereavement.

Please note: not all services are available in all areas.

Please feel free to ask your funeral director for further information about the following.

  • Bereavement Support Groups
  • Bereavement counselling
  • Bereavement Social Work
  • Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a counsellor
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 or free text 4357
  • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666