It may look a bit like a North Star Auckland suburban bus, but in fact it is a coffin.

A very special kind of coffin, one wrapped in paper printed to look like a bus because the man it was made for was a bus driver.

Wood-toned coffins are starting to make way for caskets with colourful paint-jobs and paper wraps as families look for a more personalised send-off for their loved ones.

Baptist Church-owned Windsor Funerals, which sourced the "North Star bus" from Reflections Picture Caskets, reports a small but increasing demand for such non-traditional coffins.


Manager Hazel James said the bus driver's family loved the blue, yellow and black casket.

"Everyone was so happy with how the casket turned out. The response when everyone walked in and saw it - everybody was photographing it."

She said the family had taken a photo of the kind of bus their dad used to drive and this was sent to a casket manufacturer for printing and application.

The finished product cost $2875, in contrast to about $650 for the cheapest casket Windsor could supply.

"People are starting to move away from the very traditional type of thing and think of very creative ways to say 'goodbye'," James said.

She recalled another recent colourful casket, painted with designs including a picture of a dove by the granddaughter of a man who had been diagnosed with cancer.

He had asked her to decorate it because he didn't want a staid, traditional look.