Direct cremations and memorial services are increasing in favour as more people move away from traditional trends, Bay funeral directors say.

Transient lifestyles, cost and the difficulty of getting families together from long distances are driving the change.

Bay Cremation Care owner Alistair Black said a family kept their loved one at home after her death and she was transported by the company to the crematorium a few days later.

''That was her wishes. After the cremation, when the ashes were returned, the family had a memorial service.

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''I guess the only difference is there is no casket.''

But Mr Black said while there was a trend towards less traditional funerals he advised families have some sort of service.

''Down the track, you may find they have not grieved properly. A funeral service often starts the grieving process.''

A direct cremation could cost $1800 while a basic funeral with service at the crematorium was likely to be about $4000.

Warren McCarthy from Simply Cremations said direct cremations made up 75 per cent of its business, up from 50 per cent when the business started eight years ago.

Sometimes the memorial service would be combined with another event like a birthday or Christmas.

''In my view, several things are happening. Some people do not have a lot of money, they are living longer so a lot of friends and relatives have already passed.'

''And some families are spread all over the country and all over the globe so it's hard to try and get them together at short notice.''

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Legacy Funerals director Mike Savage said people had always been budget conscious and
for those that hadn't necessarily planned for a funeral, ''it is a bit of a grudge purchase''.

He said he had seen a large increase in direct cremations over the past five years and there was a manufacturer in Papamoa that specialised in cardboard caskets for that purpose.

''However, these cardboard caskets are not just for direct cremations. These can be placed inside a standard casket for a funeral service and then removed from the casket at the time of cremation.''

Legacy Funerals also encouraged prearranging your funeral.

''This way your wishes are clear to your loved ones, relieving them of stress at a difficult time. A prearranged and prepaid funeral is a contract so your wishes will be respected.''

Meanwhile, 75 to 80 per cent of its clients were opting for cremation over burials, Mr Savage said.

''Cremation is sometimes chosen as people are more transient these days - there may not be family members left in a particular town to visit or tend a grave."

Katikati Coffin Club chairman Roger Gardner said it had about 150 members and conversations were often centred around funerals and dying.

It gave people peace of mind to talk about arrangements and what was going to happen when they passed away, he said.

''All of a sudden we start talking about things and talking to your children and grandchildren. So when that day comes people know what is going to happen and you are prepared for it.''

A basic coffin could be made from $250 upwards depending on the finish and when Mr Gardner joined the club three years ago the thought of spending $6000 to $7000 through the normal channels was too much for him to bear.

''I wouldn't pay a thousand dollars a day to stay in a hotel so why would I lie in a box for $1000 a day. That was my logical thinking as I'm a miserable sod and I don't like spending money if I don't have to, plus I like making things.''


What is a direct cremation?
A funeral director is asked to transport a person from a place of death to the cremation premises.
No clinical process takes place and there is no funeral service. - source Legacy Funerals

By the numbers
Burials in Tauranga
2015 -156
2016 - 144
2017 - 109
Cremations in Tauranga
2015 - 919
2016 - 893
2017 - 643 - Source Tauranga City Council