Vintage Hearses Visit Napier 2015

By Funeral-Link New Zealand | Posted: Monday May 18, 2015

Funeral-Link pleased to support the community at a different dining experience during Tremains Art Deco Weekend.

Guests dressed in their finery enjoyed delicate chocolate treats and spoke of death.

The pews had been removed from Funeral-Link Dunstall's Funeral Parlour and replaced with tables and chairs for the first Death by Chocolate high tea.

A hearse was the perfect way to travel to Napier, guest Serence Wilkens said over a cup of tea. "There's plenty of room for the luggage." It took three suitcases to carry her and her husband David's Art Deco gear. They brought a number of outfit options to wear to the different events - including a black one for the afternoon tea in the funeral parlour. It was the Wellington couple's third Art Deco weekend. David, a mechanic, looks after vintage hearses and borrowed Funeral-Link Harbour City Funeral Home's  car to drive up to Napier.

They got a lot of toots and waves as they sat and ate lunch on the running board while parked up. The Wilkens took part in the vintage car parade along with the six hearses from around the North Island. Mr Wilkens devoured his lammington and cream horn, made by Silky Oak, after a busy morning. 

He liked the deadly twist on the high tea. "It's something a bit different."

Sitting next to him was Anthony Beauchamp, an undertaker from Palmerston North. Eating in a funeral parlour was nothing new for him, however, it made a nice change to be waited on. "I'm usually the one serving tea and coffee."

Neil Earnshaw discussed life and death at his table. The Dunstalls undertaker said he tried to guide people through a difficult time in their life.

"It's more than a job, it's a vocation." People often asked him how to deal with loss. 

He told them over time you get to a point when you can bury the grief inside and put a lid on it. Every so often the lid pops and you have to work out how to put it back on again.

During the high tea, Funeral Directors Association chief executive Katrina Shanks presented a $7000 cheque to the Cranford Hospice following a nationwide fundraising drive. 

Meanwhile, the vintage ornamentation shined on the grecco deco casket displayed in the foyer. Baldwin Manufacturing donated the casket to be sold at the event. The $1930 price would also go to the hospice along with the money raised in a silent auction.

Michelle Dunstall said the chocolate brown casket was one of a kind.

"We're not expecting you to use it straight away," she told guests.

"We can store it until you're ready and waiting."

Funeral-Link members are in each region throughout New Zealand. They share each others values and are able to support families through the journey of change. see: for your local member.  

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