Funeral Director/Embalmer Kaihautū/Kaiwhakapaipai Tūpāpaku

Funeral directors/embalmers organise and direct funerals, register deaths, and prepare human bodies for visits by families, and burial or cremation.

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Caring for bodies and registering deaths

Funeral directors/embalmers may do some or all of the following:

  • arrange for removal of bodies from places such as private homes, hospitals and accident scenes
  • gather the information and documents necessary to register the death, and obtain death certificates
  • preserve and prepare bodies for viewing
  • drive a hearse and transport the coffin
  • attend and/or assist with burial or cremation.

Organising and attending funerals

Funeral directors may also:

  • discuss funeral arrangements with relatives
  • work with relatives to help them cope with their grief and celebrate the life of the person who has passed away
  • organise newspaper notices, cemetery bookings or burial plots, flowers, catering, and coffins and urns on behalf of relatives
  • arrange, attend, and direct funerals and after-service receptions
  • help family members with legal details such as Work and Income and Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims.

Physical Requirements

Funeral directors/embalmers need to have a tidy appearance. They should also not be allergic to formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde – the two chemicals used in embalming.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for funeral directors includes:

  • work dealing with the public, such as in hospitality 
  • counselling, nursing or rest home work.

Work in make-up or cosmetics, and/or work in a hospital or laboratory is useful for embalmers.

Personal Qualities

Funeral directors/embalmers need to be:

  • good communicators
  • patient and tactful
  • mature, responsible and sympathetic
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
  • organised and good at planning
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • punctual.

Funeral directors/embalmers must also be comfortable working around dead bodies.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for funeral directors includes:

  • work dealing with the public, such as in hospitality 
  • counselling, nursing or rest home work.

Work in make-up or cosmetics, and/or work in a hospital or laboratory is useful for embalmers.

Funeral Director/Embalmers can earn around $45K- $50K per year per year.

Funeral directors/embalmers may progress to work in a managerial role at a funeral home. With further experience, they may also establish their own funeral home business.

Funeral directors/embalmers may specialise in either funeral directing or embalming. However, most are trained and qualified in both areas.

Funeral Director/Embalmer

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