More than 90 sets of ashes remain unclaimed at Hutt Valley funeral homes, as tight budgets, busy lives and emotions get in the way of people moving their family members to a final resting place.
Gee and Hickton Funeral Directors has 30 sets of ashes in storage at the company's Upper Hutt funeral home and 50 in Lower Hutt.
Some ashes were inherited with a change of ownership in the 1980s and are about half a century old.
Harbour City Funeral Homes have 12 sets of unclaimed ashes and Croft Funeral Homes stores cremated ashes dating back to the 1950s.
Gee and Hickton funeral director Gavin Murphy said legally the funeral home was allowed to scatter the ashes, but they chose to keep them in storage.
"You never know when a family will turn up and want to collect them."
He said there are lots of reasons ashes were not collected.
Some family members were not emotionally ready to make a decision and others were saving up for a memorial.
There were also people who wanted to wait until another family member died before making the choice.
"Another thing is people just get busy with life," Mr Murphy said.
The full names and cremation dates were listed on the containers.
Most people picked up ashes within a year, but some would take 10 or 20 years to make a decision.
Although it wasn't ideal to have a "bottleneck" of ashes in storage, Mr Murphy acknowledged that sometimes people were not ready to make a decision about where the ashes should go.
"We don't have a time frame on it. We just work with the families," Mr Murphy said.
- Hutt News
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