Debunking cremation legends
In the past it was a taboo subject, but planning for death and talking about what happens ‘‘when the curtain closes’’ is becoming more common.
Ten-year-old Tyler Buckingham has already taken an interest in the topic.
At an open day at Southland Crematorium, Rockdale Rd, Invercargill on Sunday, to celebrate 40 year since it opened, Tyler went along for a tour with his mum and two sisters.
Tours included a show and tell of the equipment and process of cremation – minus the bodies – and the public asked questions.
‘‘I want to learn about it and tell my friends,’’ Tyler said.
As he got older he was becoming more interested in what happened after death, and admitted he had already decided to get cremated. ‘‘I don’t want to be in the ground.’’
City Council supervisor of cemetery and crematorium services Ricky Mulqueen said what happens after death had in the past been a ’’taboo’’ subject, but things were changing.
Other organisations throughout NZ had open days which were well received by the public.
The tours were about ‘‘debunking urban legends’’ about what goes on at a crematorium.
People often thought that bodies were saved up and burned at once, and that the crematorium chimney smoked when a body was cremated, but they were not true, Mulqueen said.
‘‘It’s about being better informed ... people are interested in what does happen when the curtain closes.’’
Common questions were about the process of cremation, coffins and how to make arrangements.
‘‘There’s a definite breakdown of taboo, people talk about it more.’’
Family groups were at the open day to get educated.
‘‘Children are naturally curious so it’s good, it’s healthy.’’
Cremations were becoming more popular worldwide, but there had been a specific spike in Southland in the past few years.
Last year there were about 250 burials, and more than 400 cremations, up from about 350 the previous year.
People tended to choose cremation for cost and because burial was using up the land, he said.
Trends in custom coffins were also on the rise. ‘‘We’re seeing a lot more homemade coffins.’’
Funeral directors were also offering more personalised options.
A tour group listens to City Council supervisor of cemetery and crematorium services Ricky Mulqueen.