Michael Pickering



Michael Pickering

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU JOIN THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY?
I grew up in the industry really, my father Allan moved home to Wairoa from Australia in 1981 just before I was born to work for the Wairoa funeral director at the time. I worked in the business after school cleaning and washing cars etc when I was 14 till I was around 16. I joined the family business fulltime in 2000 when I was 19 as an apprentice cabinet maker, we are also cabinet makers, being from a small community and only doing around 80 funerals on average a year, you need something to supplement the business, and we are probably the last funeral directors/Cabinet makers in NZ. We do kitchens mainly, we don’t make caskets except the odd direct cremation mdf casket or ply casket when someone wants to save money or wants something a little different. I’ve always helped out on the funeral side with washing and dressing and sometimes driving. I started funeral directing and embalming around 2011. So now I’m a qualified Embalmer, Funeral Director and cabinet maker.

IF YOU ARE WORKING IN A FAMILY BUSINESS, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FOLLOW YOUR FAMILY INTO THIS BUSINESS?
I never intended to become a funeral director, I thought I would just be a cabinet maker but being around it your whole life I guess its in your blood, and to be honest it was a great business opportunity for myself to create a career which can be difficult to achieve in a small town. The other reason was seeing the effect my father had on people’s lives. Losing a loved one can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life, the appreciation the community had towards him for his work, made me want follow in his footsteps and be able to do that for people.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I really enjoy the embalming, seeing the difference from start to finish and when the family sees their loved one after the embalming and comment on how good they look, I take great satisfaction from that.

WHAT IS A MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM YOUR INDUSTRY CAREER?
There’s plenty of memorable moments the top one for me would be winning the Noel McNee Memorial trophy for top practical embalmer when I graduated in 2017. It was a fantastic feeling to work so hard for something and accomplish it was extremely satisfying.

WHEN DID YOU QUALIFY?
I was in the class of 2016.

WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS AWAY FROM WORK?
I like to be active I play Squash about 3 times a week, mountain biking on Wairoa’s mountain bike track. I try to get out in nature as much as possible (away from cell phone reception) like going up to Lake Waikaremoana whenever my wife and I get the chance and getting out for a pig hunt when the opportunity arises. I also enjoy watching most sports but especially NRL Rugby League and the Hawkes Bay Magpies.


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