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Frequently asked Questions

What is a memorial?

A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory of a person or an event. Most of the memorials that we create are either upright headstones or plaques (a plaque is a memorial stone that lies flat).

Where do we start?

You can start by browsing through the information available within this website. When you feel ready, contact us to proceed further. You can either call us, email us or visit the showroom to have a look through our photo albums and the stones on display.

What is the process once we have made contact with you, how does it work?

First we check what cemetery and what area you are looking at so we can advise you correctly as to the right type of memorial for that particular area. For example upright headstones can not be placed in plaque areas and vice versa. Together we then go through the memorial style options available in that section and go over the inscription and any artwork or photos you may like to place on the memorial. We give you an idea on price which is confirmed once everything is finalised. The next step is we produce the layouts so that you can see how everything is going to look before we start engraving. We give you different options for fonts, artwork, artwork placement, and general layout. Then you choose an option, checking names and dates, and any changes are finalised. The final proof is approved by you ready for us to work from. Then you leave the rest to us and we will be in contact when the memorial is placed in the cemetery for you.

Do we need to wait for any length of time before organising a memorial?

In short no. In days gone by, graves were concreted entirely and we had to wait until the ground settled. This meant you didn't start the memorial work for at least 12-24 months. However, now most graves are grass covered with a concrete beam at the top, on which the headstone is installed. Time frames for organising a memorial vary. Sometimes families organise a memorial while coping with a funeral, with the family together it can be a good time to decide on a memorial. Most people see us within 1-12 months, some see us years later. There is no "right" time to do it, proceed with organising a memorial whenever you feel ready.

Do you send memorials overseas?

Yes we do, frequently to the Pacific Islands and as far as the UK and Europe. We can box the memorial up and sort the freight and insurance for you.

Can you supply memorials throughout New Zealand?

Certainly, we have shipped memorials all over New Zealand. We check with the cemetery and make sure what we supply you is within the bylaws of that cemetery or Urupa. The memorial is securely boxed up and shipped to the address you require. We can organise installation through other monumental masons local to that area or in some cases the family can complete the installation themselves.

How long do photos last?

Photo ceramics last a life time or longer. They are specifically designed to withstand the elements and are fired in a kiln at over 900 degrees. The firing process ensures that the colour will not fade and the finish will not deteriorate. There is a huge range of ceramic photos, check out the photos page on this website. The other photo options are rayzist and laser imaging. The lasting qualities of these options are the same as granite. The images are either sandblasted or laser etched into the stone. The rayzist photo will need to be repainted around every 10 years the same as the lettering.

How long does granite last?

Granite is millions of years old now and has been sourced out of a quarry. From there it is cut down to workable sizes and polished. There are granite memorials in Europe that have been there since the early 1800's and with a clean would look just as good as the day they were done. Granite has been used for 1000's of years, the Egyptians built pyramids with it and many large Hindu temples were made of granite. Granite is one of the hardest natural materials known and will last for centuries. The lettering colour does fade, but it can be repainted and will look as good as new. The longevity of granite makes it the most popular monumental material of today. Marble was a fashionable choice for headstones as you will see if you visit Karori, Bolton Street or similar older cemeteries. This popularity diminished primarily because marble tends to deteriorate and recede making the lead lettering fall out. Since granite is such a hard smooth surface it is easily repainted and up-keep is a lot easier than with marble. Marble is significantly softer than granite, early tools were only able to cope with cutting, polishing and lettering of marble, but new technology has made it possible to do this with ease using granite. We still use marble for certain jobs where it is required or when the family have made the decision to use it.

Do we have to use granite?

Granite is the preferred material in most cemeteries. In Akatarawa and Taita cemeteries granite is the only option, Makara and Whenua Tapu are open to different materials such as marble, Oamaru stone, concrete, rocks, river rock and boulders. We know the specifications for each cemetery so let us know what you are thinking and we can advise if it is suitable for that cemetery. Even in the more relaxed cemeteries approval needs to be given for anything out of the ordinary and anything not made of granite or marble. Marble is a lot softer than granite and recedes with time and weather conditions. Granite is superior in most cases for durability, holding its lettering the longest and the ability to repaint the lettering when needed. There is also a huge range of colours available in granite, the most popular being black. Please check our granite colours page.

Can you manufacture a stone that we have designed ourselves?

We have manufactured some amazing designs. Families have come in with an idea, we have developed it and come up with some options to choose from. Others have a definite plan in mind and we make it happen. With the skill level of the tradespeople some of the things that can be done are fantastic and can be achieved within a reasonable budget. Generally something that is a one off is more expensive than something off the shelf. Time frame is another thing to consider when designing something different. In some cases if you have a tight time frame it can be made in New Zealand but will generally be more expensive than bringing it in from overseas. The drawback for overseas is the time it takes for delivery. This is usually around 2-3 months from the time the order is placed. Freight time can also be delayed here in New Zealand dealing with customs and any fumigation that needs to be done before the crates are released. Essentially the more time that you have given yourself to order the better, especially for ordering the stone as the lettering, artwork, photos can be dealt with later.

Can we place any headstone or plaque in any area in any cemetery?

No, all cemeteries have different restrictions. Each area has bylaws governing the sizes, materials and type of memorial to be placed in each cemetery. The only cemeteries that do not have this are private cemeteries and some Urupas. We know all the local requirements and can easily find out for cemeteries around New Zealand to make sure we supply you the correct memorial.

Do we install the memorial ourselves?

We take care of all of that for you. The prices we supply include installation in the cemetery. If we are supplying a memorial and having it installed by another monumental mason we will get their installation cost and advise at the start of the process. Most public cemeteries require the memorials to be installed by a qualified installer. There is a permit system in all cemeteries that needs to be adhered to also. We do supply a lot of memorials for private cemeteries and in some cases the family take care of the installation themselves.

How long does it take to make a memorial?

We generally complete memorial work in 4-6 weeks, 4 weeks for plaques and 4-6 for upright memorials. This will vary if the stone is not an off the shelf item and is being manufactured specifically for you or being brought in from overseas. We can however complete work quicker if needed, just contact us to discuss this and depending on our workload and your requirements we will make it work.

Does the lettering last forever?

Yes the lettering does last forever but the lettering colour does fade after time and needs relettering. As a general rule, using black granite as a benchmark because it is the most popular, we find white or silver lettering will last around 7-10 years and gold lettering around 12-15 years. Upright stones tend to hold onto the lettering longer than the lying down plaques which are continuously exposed to the elements. Some of the other granite colours do not hold the lettering as long as black. If you are considering a different colour than black we can guide you on the lasting times of the individual granites based on our experience.

Do you reletter and restore older memorials?

A big part of our work is restoring older memorials and relettering headstones and plaques. We can paint or regild in all the local cemeteries. Please contact us and we can give you a quotation to restore a memorial back to its former glory.

Is there a limit to the artwork you can do?

We are able to create some amazing artwork to personalise a memorial. We have never had to say "sorry we can't do that". There are plenty of options to get the desired result, whether it is hand drawn artwork, computer generated laser etching or rayzist engraving. Please view our examples in the artwork gallery.

What can we do to prevent moss growing on the headstone?

Once we have installed the memorial, or restored an existing one, cleaning it once or twice a year will help protect against lichen build up. We have cleaning kits available for this. The lichen establishes itself into memorials, as they are left over time. If the stone is kept clean this reduces lichen build up. Sometimes this is not possible as families have moved away or are unable to get to the cemetery. So, a good clean up by us is a great option, lichen removal is only a water blast or wire brush away. Give us a call and we will take care of it all for you and supply you with photos of the finished work.

Can I organise my headstone before I pass away?

For some people organising their memorial before their time of passing is peace of mind. We can consult with you and organise everything so you don't have to worry about a thing. There are different ways to go about it. Consult with us and leave the instructions with your will or lawyer. Some people purchase the memorial and store it at home until required, then only the dates are needed to be inscribed and the memorial installed. Others have the stone inscribed, pay for and leave it with us until the time comes. We are then advised of the dates so it can be completed and installed.

Do you just do headstones?

We specialise in memorials but take on all sorts of projects, such as foundation stones, pet plaques, ashes urns, onsite sandblasting, hand cutting granite letters, glass sandblasting and decorating caskets. We have completed a wide variety of projects for councils including installing sculptures, RSA memorial work and subdivision entrance signs. Please check out our galleries under other services to get an idea of the scope of our work.

Do we get to see a draft proof before the memorial work is started?

You certainly do. Once we have the wording and an idea of how you want it to look, we provide proofs for you to look over. These will typically have different font types to choose from. If you choose a rose as artwork for example there will be a variety of roses for you to select from and different placement of wording and artwork. We have a great deal of experience with layouts and take a lot of pride in making sure that it looks just right.