Evans Funeral Services has proudly served the Gisborne community since 1908. The corner of Wi Pere Street and Ormond Road has been the site of a funeral home for more than 100 years. It has been the family business and home for three families.
The first funeral homes grew from cabinet making businesses, and Tom Haisman's beginnings in 1908 were no exception. Jim and Neta Evans bought the business from him in 1947. The two-storey family home on the corner soon expanded with the addition of garages and a chapel which seated 16 people. In 1955, Jim built a new chapel with seating for 95 people, plus standing room in the foyer.
A dozen times a year, Jim drove to Hawkes Bay, to the crematorium which served the Gisborne community.
Trevor and Avice Parker purchased the business of J.V. Evans Ltd in 1975, moving their family to Gisborne from Wairoa. They too lived in the “house over the shop" with their four teenagers. Avice commented that all their children learned to drive the regular trip to the Hastings crematorium, which they travelled up to twice a week.
Five years later, in 1980, the Gisborne crematorium was established. Around 200 cremations now take place there each year.
In 1984, Trevor Parker modernised the chapel and extended it, with a capacity of 250 people.
David Parker has been the sole owner of the business since 2007. A registered funeral director since 1983, David is also a qualified embalmer.
In 2011, he designed and managed the addition of a new office and administration wing. Completed with an eye for detail, the warm and welcoming meeting rooms and offices have been designed to support the wide variety of tasks necessary to the new era of funeral service, facilitated by information and communications technology.
The Chapel was given a makeover in October 2014, with a fresh décor and upgraded air conditioning systems. A new feature of the chapel is the inbuilt seating at the front around the casket, which can also be used to display floral tributes.