“Last year, my mum passed away suddenly. I had not expected it to happen quite so quickly and though I have attended a fair few, I had been in the fortunate position of never being in sole charge of arranging a funeral before. I was exhausted, and deeply saddened; to boot, I felt punch drunk and slightly surreal. I did not know where to start. Having been to several funerals held on Dil’s beautiful premises, I jumped online, found their number and gave them a call. Their service was impressive. I could not have asked for better. The lovely people at Dil’s did indeed make what was a super tough time, just a little bit easier. ” – Fran Ninow
Last week we had the pleasure of speaking to Dil’s managing director, Stephen Dil, about what can be a tricky, trying time for all concerned.
Often when there is a death in the family – it is hard to know where to start or what to do. What do you recommend the first few steps that one should take?
The most simple thing you can do is to phone us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have and can guide you through getting started. There is no rush to make decisions or even commit to engaging our services, but having a quick chat can be really helpful. You should also connect with close family and others who need to be involved in the decision making. Being with those closest to you is a great comfort and allows you to work out when everyone can get together. Finally, look after yourself. The funeral process can be trying and chances are you are already tired, so only do what you feel like you can cope with, and put your feet up if you need. We can step in and support you along the way.
When choosing a funeral home, what are the main factors to consider?
I would say reputation, location, and experience. Most people only arrange one or two funerals in their lifetime so probably don’t have lot of experience in selecting a funeral home. So ask around, check in with trusted friends who have had to organise a service and learn about their experience. I would also suggest checking out the funeral home on the web. A good funeral home should have an informative website and allow you to build a picture of your options (including funeral costs) and give you a feel for who will be looking after you. I would also strongly suggest going to visit the funeral home. Have a look around at the facilities and talk to the staff. How do they make you feel, can they answer all your questions and does what you experience align with your expectations. Reputable funeral homes will leave you feeling confident you are in good hands and they have the experience and expertise to deliver exactly as you require. Dil’s have been in business for 60 years and welcome the opportunity to show you the Dil’s Difference.
I thought Dil’s was consistently good throughout my dealings with you. What do you feel sets you apart from other funeral providers?
We put you and your family at the heart of everything we do. There is no one-way to do a funeral, so we are guided by you in planning what happens. Our job is to present all the options, let you decide, and make your vision a reality. We believe that everyone deserves a beautiful funeral. It is a reflection of their life, their love, personality and character. Just as each person is unique we think their funeral should be as well.
We make a complicated process easy. We have a large dedicated team who possess a variety of specialised skills that are essential to getting thing right on the day. They are focused on you and your needs and can be counted on to ensure you and your family get the funeral you want. I think we understand that it is the little things that make a big difference. A simple example might be a service sheet that is personal and unique to the person that has died.
Finally, our facilities are exceptional. Our flagship North Harbour Chapel in Schnapper Rock Road, Albany, is set in peaceful park-like surrounds and is conveniently located roughly 10 minutes north of the hustle and bustle of Auckland city.
The main chapel, with feature waterfall, is versatile and can accommodate groups of different sizes, In the standard configuration we seat 140 people, but can move the walls to seat over 200 when required. We also have a small chapel designed for intimate farewells of up to 20 people. In addition to the chapel our reception lounge allows guests to simply move from the chapel following the service and we take care of everything leaving you free to catch up with family and friends without worrying about playing host or getting left to clean up.
Funerals are costly affairs. What are your thoughts around preparing for this inevitable expense so that your family is not left to pick up the tab?
Like most things, planning in advance is key. Funerals can seem expensive if you haven’t thought about it in advance and made a plan. In most cases funerals are paid for from estate funds so a good time to think about how you will pay for your funeral is when you make your will, or when you cash in your KiwiSaver. We would like to see more people consider prepaying their funeral, or use funeral insurance. In New Zealand we have quite a low rate of advanced funeral planning. If more people did this, it would relieve a lot of stress.
Working in this sector must be incredibly challenging at times. When employing people to work at Dil’s, what are the characteristics you look out for?
We have a team of incredible people. They come from diverse backgrounds and interests, but are all absolutely dedicated to the families we serve. Modern funerals require each team member to bring their talents to the table to ensure everything comes together on the day. When looking for people to join our team we want people who are relatable, and put others needs ahead of their own. We want people with an eye for detail and have high EQ and empathy. Much of what we do is about reading people and situations and translating this into an experience that is meaningful for the family. We work really hard to manage a complex process but in a way that feels intuitive and seamless.
What do you like best about your work?
It’s all about the people. When you work with a family and help them through the funeral process, it’s very rewarding to see how they are helped by their experience. Knowing that you have played a small part in this is very satisfying. I also really like hearing people’s stories. There are so many people that have lived amazing lives and have such rich histories, I often come away inspired.