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Campbell and Sons Funeral Services managing director Clark Campbell said a lot had changed since his great-grandfather Robert started the business 125 years ago.
"He got the undertaker gig because he had the best horse and cart in Mosgiel."
For most of that time, burials had been the core of the business, but Mr Campbell said the new Mill Creek Crematorium was built because New Zealanders were changing the way they wanted to commemorate death, from a pubic funeral to more informal gatherings or direct cremation.
"More than 20% of people are opting for a direct cremation option rather than the types of more public traditional funerals.
"This has grown from 5% five years ago, to more than 20% this year."
Mr Campbell said people were choosing cremation over burial for many reasons, but cost was number one.
"There is a very large gap in the Dunedin City Council area between burial and cremation — up to four times the price for a new plot burial as it is for cremation."
The new 370sq m facility in Dukes Rd fitted "all styles of intimate farewells", he said.
"It can hold around 50 people, which in our experience, is a good number for the smaller, more intimate gatherings that people are often looking for, particularly in the Covid-19 environment.
"It’s a contemporary modern space in the heart of Mosgiel. We’ve been at the same site in Mosgiel now for 125 years [four generations of Campbells] servicing the local community, so although the new crematorium is about 3km down the road, we’ve acknowledged the heritage of our local area in the naming of the crematorium — the Mill Creek Crematorium."