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Simple Direct Funerals

Simple Direct Funerals is a boutique funeral business based in Richmond.  It has been running for just over 3 years and serves both the Nelson and Tasman areas.  We provide a simple, yet meaningful funeral service at the lowest cost to families.

Simple Direct Funerals has made a huge difference to our community by offering funerals with a clear set price and no hidden costs.  There is absolutely no worries of us adding hidden costs or products that increases the final price.  We offer a service that covers everything a person needs for a cremation or burial.  

Our funeral service – either cremation or burial is very easy for families to work through and importantly is not at the expense of providing a quality service.  Families have often commented on how meaningful our type of service has been for them.

We have found that our service also frees families to arrange a memorial service at a later date, if they want. When a full funeral service happens soon after the death often the family is dealing with their grief and trying to organise a funeral service.  It can become quite overwhelming.

Having a memorial service a little later gives family space and time.  So many families have a private cremation or burial and then gather at a later date for a larger celebration.

These memorial services are as unique as each individual.  Families can do what they want to do in the place they chose.  It could be a church service, sports club, bbq at home, restaurant, picnic – whatever the family decides.

Simple Direct Funerals priority is always on service and doing everything we can to help families during a challenging time.  That is why our pricing is simple and clear and allows families to focus more on other things than the finances.

With Simple Direct Funerals you are not part of a huge business that processes many funerals every week.  Each family gets the highest of service – even with a direct cremation.  We keep the process informal and supportive, professional and caring throughout.  At the end of the day meeting your needs is our goal.

Making your hardest time a little easier is what we strive to attain each and every time.

How SDF started...

In 2017 my position at Nelson Cathedral was made redundant.  After working in the church for many years I had to make some major life decisions.  I didn’t want to leave Nelson and so my options were limited.  

I visited all the local funeral homes because I had the experience of working with families during bereavements that related to their industry.  But they weren’t hiring at the time.  It was disappointing, but at the same time it started me thinking about the funeral business.

There were two things I came away with after visiting the funeral businesses.  First was the expense of having even a simplest cremation and second how complicated the funeral process seemed to be for some families.  Lots of forms to fill out and questions to answer.  At a stressful time with so many other things going through one’s mind it was so easy for costs to soar.  I wanted to provide a different service

My background had been supporting families through the funeral process.  I was often with them before, during and after the service.  I knew a little of what funeral directors did, but learning the details from the paperwork to the mechanics of moving a person took some time.  The most important thing was that I wanted to do things well and professionally.  I wanted families to feel confident and assured.

So over many months I slowly built my business model.  There were two things I kept at the fore.  Make the process simple for families AND keep the costs down.  One of the things I kept hearing was the unseen costs that kept getting higher for families.

I wanted their costs and service, everything, to be clear from the start so that families would know how much it would cost from the start – no surprises.  I wanted them to be able to focus much more on their loved one than being distracted by things that probably didn’t matter in the long term.

When I led funerals I knew that there were two things people remembered most at a time.  One was being with family and friends and two the stories they shared about the person who died.  This is what people talked about afterwards – not how great the coffin looked or the hearse or the other things.

So after many months of talking with many different people, taking plenty of small steps – like getting business cards, making a website, buying a car, getting the right coffin and all the hundreds of other little things I needed, it got to the stage where I just needed to bite the bullet and advertise and start serving my community.

Simple Direct Funerals began under the name Purely Cremations. To be honest I was terrified when I first started because it was so new to me.  I had all the responsibility.  But from the very first family I was able to do things the way they wanted.  Supporting families through a tough time.  As business grew families told me how helpful my service was for them.

Although low price is an important aspect it does not come at the expense of service, professionalism and care for all. In providing a simple funeral service it removes any pressure or need to spend more money. It helps families focus on what is truly important for them.

This was a surprising aspect, that this simple service has been incredibly meaningful to families as they have been able to focus on their loved one much more and their passing.  Often funeral companies imply that having a formal service or buying a nice coffin shows more respect and care for their loved one.  But this is not the case at all.  This is them trying to make money off families at an emotional time.

I don’t have expensive facilities or staff to pay, so I can keep costs minimal.  Our funeral service provided throughout Tasman and Nelson in many ways feels more intimate as we work hand in hand with the family throughout every step of the funeral process.

Simple Direct Funerals is local through and through. From sourcing the wood for coffins, local craftsmen making urns and numerous other local companies.  I’m pleased that virtually everything about Simple Direct Funerals is locally based.  I’m happy to have a small carbon foot print.

The final thing I learnt was that many families wanted to celebrate and remember the life of their loved one their own individual way.  So even though a cremation may happen quickly, they had time and space to organise a memorial service or get together in a way that meant something to them.

Simple Direct Funerals has been going for a few years now with over 200 funerals.  I am so pleased that the feedback I get is positive and reassuring that they way I’m doing things is what families want.

Simple Direct Funerals is here for the long term.  It will keep the pricing affordable for families who still want a meaningful service without the huge expense.  I continue to grow and learn all the time.  But the thing that remains the same from the very start is providing the best service I can to the community at a fair and competitive price.

Owen Haring – Owner

Owen - SDF Owner

Owen Haring

I grew up on an apple orchard in Redwood Valley.  I went to Appleby School and Waimea Intermediate and College.  After living in the North Island for many years, I returned home to Nelson in 2014 and began this business in 2018.

For over twenty five years I have worked with families and communities taking many funerals and supported families and people throughout the death of a loved one.  My experience has been primarily working with families to farewell loved ones, rather than the “business” of funerals.  Therefore my focus is naturally upon the needs of the family. 

My career started as a youth worker in churches and then I became a minister for over ten years.  I love to help people and especially providing a service – be it wedding, funeral, church service that people not only enjoyed but was also meaningful.  

I started Simple Direct Funerals because I wanted to offer families a truly affordable and simple funeral service.  I wasn’t interested in trying to selling products, but rather providing the best service to families.

I want families to have the freedom to decide how involved they want to be with the funeral process.  For some it meant keeping the person at home until taken to the crematorium.  For others it meant we took the person into our care almost immediately as they wanted their final memories to be when the person was alive.

Every family is different and working with them is such an privilege.  I feel incredibly fortunate to own and run this business and meet wonderful people from all corners of the community.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me.

Photo of Kath, artist and part-time helper at SDF

Kath Dwyer

Hi, I’m Kath.  I got my love of art from my father who was a signwriter in the NZ army.  I went to school in Murchison then headed to the North Island.  I did a 4 year craft design course in Wellington and it felt like I had found my place in the world. 

I have lived in various small communities throughout New Zealand and love being in nature. 

I returned to Nelson about 15 years ago to raise my daughter in Tasman.  Over this time I have loved using a variety of mediums with my art work from clay to wood to paints and drawings.  I like to continue to explore new opportunities and at the moment I am illustrating a local children’s book called ‘Sam and Rhubarb and the old Totara tree’.

My work can sometimes been seen at the Suter Art Gallery after doing exhibitions throughout New Zealand. 

Each urn I work with is completely original – a one off.  My goal for every urn is to ensure the product meets the needs of each family.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me.

I have a website of some of the other art I have created.  Click here

Holly, Harry and Frankie are the guardians of SDF.  When I say they are the guardians they are more like an alarm system.

They are not aggressive at all, but they can be loud initially – especially Frankie.  Afterwards they are very friendly – especially Holly.  They are always happy to see visitors – especially Harry.

They will not be in the office unless you specifically would like them to say hello.