AN Invercargill funeral home will soon be opening its doors to the public, allowing a rare behind-the-scenes look.
Macdonald & Weston Funeral Home managing director Sharron Hanley said the open day was an opportunity to learn about the process of organising a funeral and about removing people’s fear of the unknown.
“People are really afraid of death, especially coming into a funeral home. But you don’t need to be scared. This lets us show people what it’s really like, to show people it’s OK. ‘Integrity, compassion and kindness’ is our promise to everyone.”
People would be able to see inside a working mortuary if they wanted to, she said.
“People can come and ask any question they want, about embalming, about cremation, about money.”
The public would also gain insights into less-obvious facets of the business, such as printing, casket lining, sewing and embroidery.
Additionally, there were nine vehicles parked in a large open area at the back of the business.
“It’s usually quite a surprise for people when we take them out the back,” she said.
The vehicles included a unique 1947 Chrysler Windsor Hearse, which was imported from the United States in 1948.
The Chrysler was brought over in preparation for the visit of King George VI, but the king’s ill-health meant he could not make the visit.
After the king’s death in 1952, the Chrysler was converted into a hearse in New Plymouth before coming to Southland more than 40 years ago.
The open day is being held in conjunction with a What’s On Your Bucket List? radio campaign.
The More FM campaign started on Monday and would go for three weeks, ending with the winner being able to tick off an item on their bucket list.
“People can register on the More FM website. We’ll go through all the submissions and make someone’s bucket list dream a reality.”
An often neglected but important bucket list item was pre-arranging your funeral, she said.
Macdonald & Weston Funeral Home, at 131 Yarrow St, will be open to the public on Sunday, February 25, noon-4pm.