WHEN AND HOW DID YOU JOIN THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY
I left school in 1984 two weeks into my fourth form year. I started my first job at an engineering firm, learning all aspects of metal fabrication. The business was conveniently located, next door to a funeral home. I was intrigued as to what went on there. I remember cutting a hole in the hedge one day, to see what was going on. I remember while I was decanting some chemical in a shed, hearing a car pull down the drive. I looked through the hole I had made and saw a station wagon with a screen type tent in the back. The driver got out (which happened to be Michael Aro). He went to the back of the vehicle, opened the boot and proceeded to pull the stretcher out. It had a velvet cover on and I could see the outline of a body. He wheeled the stretcher into the building, I was fascinated, and a thought ran though my head as to “what goes on”, “what do they do”. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and at that very moment thought “that’s what I want to do”.
From there I sent out letters to various funeral homes expressing my interest. Back then it wasn’t easy to get into the profession. Eventually, I received a phone call offering work experience and eagerly took the opportunity. On the 20th February 1988 I was offered a position as a trainee. From there I worked in various funeral homes gaining further knowledge and experience.
In 1995 I took a position, working at Funeral Support with David Aro. We did locum work for various funeral homes from out of town, one of which was in Waihi. It was there that I discovered my interest in aviation and decided to get my pilots licence. I spent as much time as I could “in the air”. Flying is still a huge passion of mine today.
For various reasons I took a break from the funeral industry and in 2000 joined the prison service. This was a role that I thoroughly enjoyed, however I left the prison service for financial reasons (had more bills than a duck farm). I returned to the funeral profession in 2001ish and I’ll leave it there.
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