Eco Funerals – The Natural Way To Go

Jason Morrison Funeral Services in Warkworth has been operating for 28 years, and one of the secrets to their longevity is being open to new ideas.

“Lately, people have been enquiring about eco-funerals,” says Funeral Director and Celebrant Nicola Morrison. “Which suits us well, since we’re always aiming to have as low impact on the environment as possible.”

A sustainable or natural funeral means different things to different people.

“It’s open for interpretation, and the wishes of the family are always our priority,” says Nicola. “For some people it’s being buried in a cardboard or wicker casket, maybe avoiding embalming or using eco-friendly embalming products. For others it’s being cremated and the ashes being scattered or kept in an eco-friendly way.”

“Personally, I think our wooden caskets are a wonderful option. We are mindful of using wood from renewable resources, held together with wooden plugs as opposed to metal. We recommend lining the casket with sheepskin to ensure every part is biodegradable,” Nicola says.

For cremation, ashes can be held in the handmade Mod Urns, a beautiful green box made from natural materials. If the ashes are being scattered or interred, the family can then keep the box for photographs and keepsakes of their loved one.

Also popular is the biodegradable Deep Ocean Earth Urn, made from paper with a water-soluble Bio Ash Bag inside. It is typically placed in the water from a boat and will sink after a while, leaving no lasting impact on the environment.

“We’re mindful of other parts of the service as well. So if the family wants to release balloons, we always use eco-balloons with biodegradable strings, to ensure no animals get hurt,” says Nicola.

Nicola knew she wanted to become a funeral celebrant after going to a funeral with a ‘quite prickly’ friend whose mother had passed away. When she heard the story of this woman’s life, it gave her a renewed understanding and compassion towards her friend.

Apart from being a qualified celebrant, Nicola also studied public speaking and grief counselling. She loves sitting down with family and talking about the person they’ve lost, to write up their eulogy.

“Often when you tell a story about a person, it enables people to see them from the outside for the first time. It can give people a new clarity and understanding about why they were the way they were. I find it often helps people in their grieving process, with forgiveness and moving on,” she says.

The firm was started by Jason Morrison, who grew up in Snells Beach, went to Warkworth School and Mahurangi College.

Nicola’s work as a rep for The Herald brought her to Warkworth around 30 years ago and she fell in love with the town.

“It just felt right. I immediately knew that I wanted to live here one day and five years later the opportunity came up,” Nicola says.

“I eventually came knocking at Jason's door and told him why he needed me in the company.”

Naturally, Nicola got the job and ended up falling in love with Jason too. And the rest is history. 

24 Whitaker Road, Warkworth 

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