Our History

At the turn of last century Walter Dunstall, a Napier cabinet maker who organised funerals ‘on the side’, established Dunstall’s Funeral Services out of his family home in Nelson Crescent, Napier.

Walter Dunstall began his business life in 1900 as a cabinet maker. As was the tradition during that period, he also undertook the preparation of casket making for funerals. By the mid 1920s, undertaking had become a much larger part of the business.

Around 1915 a few changes took place in the Nelson Crescent house with a chapel being added. By the late 1920s, two of Walter’s son’s Colin and Keith had started helping out and after the 1931 earthquake they began working full time. Both the family home and the commercial building had only sustained minor damage in the earthquake, so while the family lived in a tent in the back yard, it was business as usual.

Colin and Keith purchased the company from Walter in 1957. In 1958 St Augustine’s Church decided to relocate to Riverbend Road and Colin and Keith agreed to purchase the building spending many hours turning it into the chapel that still exsists today. Walter stayed on in an advisory role until his death in 1963. Sadly, Keith passed away suddenly in 1965. Colin and his wife Mavis took over the running of the funeral home and were joined by their daughter Noeline in 1966 and their son Paul (who had already been helping out after school, dropping off flowers to rest homes and picking up Doctor’s paperwork), in 1972.

Colin passed away in 1978 and Paul became manager. When Mavis died in 1990, Noeline’s experience and Paul’s drive ensured that Walter’s ideals and ethics continued into the third generation.

In 2006 Michelle, Paul’s wife joined him in the business. They continued to modernise, streamlining the day-to-day running of the company, creating the website and adding the first live stream funeral option in Hawke’s Bay. Paul’s daughter Katherine joined the company in 2012 becoming the fourth generation Dunstall to continue in the family business. “I’ve always wanted to be just like my dad and follow in his footsteps to make sure great grandpa’s legacy is carried on.” Noeline retired in 2016 and is enjoying her well earned retirement.