A NEW funeral home in Featherston will hopefully make life a little easier for grieving families in the South Wairarapa, say the owners.

Peter and Jenny Giddens have opened a second branch to their Carterton business, Richmond Funeral Home.

"It will give us the ability to provide a service to the south," said Mr Giddens, who has been involved in the funeral industry for 35 years.

"It gives us a presence and allows us to complement the services we've already been providing."


The couple, who have owned the business for almost two decades, said it had taken them 10 years to find the right location for their second office.

"We have been serving the South Wairarapa the whole time so we looked for an office in Featherston.

"It will provide a place for us to meet with families, and it has a viewing room for those who wish to see their loved ones."

As well as the viewing room, which has external access for clients to view after hours, the new branch has a lounge and appointment room. The couple have made a feature of an internal window, with a large photograph of a Fell engine pulling a train up the Rimutaka incline.

The office, at 2 Fitzherbert St, would not be manned and would be open by appointment only.

As a youngster, Mr Giddens was brought up in a cemetery house in Gisborne.

His father was a sexton and, since the age of 13, he knew what he wanted to do.

"My wish was to drive the big black car," Mr Giddens said. "As I got older I discovered all about funeral directors.

"Their focus is on caring for people, and after all the years I'm still really passionate about that."

Mrs Giddens, however, was in the funeral business by "default".

"I married in to it. It wasn't my chosen career, but it's something Peter's always wanted to do.

"Sometimes it's hard, but it has its own rewards."

She was sometimes asked: "how can you do a job like that? But we're not dealing with the people that have died," Mrs Giddens said, "we're dealing with families who are living. Being there for them -- that's really rewarding."

Mrs Giddens said the new branch would make it easier for clients with limited transport.

"It's not going to change what we have done for people over the years, but it shows people we are committed to the area."