There are certain legal documents that your local council requires before a burial can take place. These consist of your local council’s application form for the burial and a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

Where can bodies be buried?

In line with the Burial and Cremation Act 1964, a burial usually has to be in a public cemetery run by a local council, a denominational burial ground such as a churchyard, an urupā or a private burial ground. However, if there is not one of these within 32 kilometres of where the death occurred, there are other options. You will need to notify your nearest District Court and provide them with an application form and a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

Buying a burial plot

You will need to check if your loved one has already bought a burial plot. The details could be included in their will, within a separate document outlining their final wishes, or you could ask other family members if they are aware of a burial plot. If you are purchasing a burial plot, you should try to provide at least 24 hours notice to your local council.

It is possible to buy a double-depth plot to allow for a second interment at a later date, this is usually used by spouses or for children and a parent to be buried together. There will be an additional fee for the second interment, this is usually called an opening fee or a digging fee.

How much does a burial cost?

The cost of a burial depends on a number of factors.

Here are the approximate costs of a burial.


Usually, a headstone is unveiled following a burial, with the exception of natural or sea burials. The headstone includes the person’s full name and dates of birth and death, however, you can also include an epitaph if you choose.

You will need to apply for a permit before you can place a headstone on a burial plot. The cost of the permit will vary by cemetery. Each cemetery will also have specific size guidelines and installation requirements that must be adhered to. You should be advised of the criteria when you purchase a burial plot, or you can contact a local headstone supplier who should be able to guide you on the requirements.


Other types of burial

As well as a traditional burial, there are other options such as eco burials and natural burials, and burial at sea.

You can buy a double-depth plot to allow for spouses or for children and a parent to be buried together at a later date.