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Thousands Flock To Funeral Practice Open Day

Thousands Flock To Funeral Practice Open Day

Thousands of people throughout New Zealand took the chance to see what goes on behind closed doors at their local funeral practice last Sunday (March 2).

Despite the final America's Cup yacht race and searing temperatures in parts of the country, an estimated 8,000 people visited the 81 funeral practices that took part in the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) first national open day.

Mortuaries, casket displays and crematoria proved to be the most intriguing, says FDANZ vice president, John Duncan.

"People spent the majority of time in the mortuary, asking questions about embalming and just wanting to know more about the whole process involved in preparing the body. In many cases, the reality was not what people previously imagined," he says.

"Most people left with a better appreciation of the work involved, and the need for highly trained staff. They were pleased for the opportunity to have their questions answered, and it helped to demystify the process."

He says for some people it was their first experience of a funeral practice, but for others, it was a chance to see what goes on 'behind the scenes'.

"Some people had already attended funerals but still wanted to know more about the various aspects involved in arranging a funeral."

He says a cross section of the community and a range of age groups visited the funeral practices.

"There were some senior citizens and children who got a lot out of the day - young boys were fascinated with the hearses - but the majority were adults in their late teens to early fifties."

Mr Duncan says the open day was a success from the FDANZ's point of view, and the Association is likely to organise a similar event in the future.

"The open day initiative gave the public an opportunity to see what really happens behind closed doors, and having some of their questions answered will hopefully alleviate some of the stress involved in coping with funerals and funeral arrangements."

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