Family History – Funeral Directors and Crematoria

Funeral directors and crematoria managers hold information about individual burials and cremations. Records often contain the information that is on a death certificate and other information about the conduct of an individual funeral. The cause of death is not usually recorded.

Contact details for some local undertakers can be found on the Funeral Directors’ Association of New Zealand website. Send a stamped self-addressed envelope, a contact telephone number and evidence that the firm was in charge of the burial (newspaper funeral notice or death certificate).

The information which undertakers hold varies and they are not obliged to provide information to the public and may only respond as time allows. The following companies hold records:

Bell Lamb Trotter (formerly J. Lamb and Son and J. Lamb Trotter)
Ferry Park Chapel, 297 Ferry Road. Christchurch’s oldest funeral home. Records date from 1872 but only contain substantial information from the 1940s.
John Rhind
19 London Street. Records date from August 1902 with the exception of April 1917 - April 1918, but only contain substantial information from January 1927.
Lamb & Hayward
467 Wairakei Road. Lamb and Hayward’s records date from the founding of the company in 1923.


The Cremation Society of Canterbury Ltd has its administration office at 455 Linwood Avenue, Christchurch where the Memorial Gardens and Canterbury Crematorium are also located. The society was founded in 1936 and commenced operation on 3 July 1937.

The society has a database of the cremations which have taken place at the institution since it was opened. It also has records of the Harewood Crematorium which was once a separate concern. Included is information on the disposal of ashes.

Since the 1990s Harewood has been run by the Cremation Society. For information, contact the office:

Cremation Society of Canterbury
P. O. Box 398
Christchurch 8001
Ph: +64 3 389 6282
Fax: +64 3 389 4746

Charges may apply.

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