In 1901 or thereabouts, Mr John Hall commenced business as a furniture maker in Timaru. He quickly diversified, taking on the role of undertaker. He was soon joined by Mr J. J. (James) Moore and they set up their funeral home, Hall and Moore, in what had been the furniture shop in Stafford Street, Timaru, close to the spot where Warehouse Stationery now stands. In those days, the hearse was a horse drawn carriage. Imagine the excitement when a motorised hearse was introduced in 1904. For many of the recently deceased, it would be their first (and last) ride in a motor car!
Their principle clientele were mostly, but not exclusively, the Catholic population of Timaru and the business ticked along quite nicely. Eventually it was passed down the family line, with J. J. Moore’s son, Bob, buying into the business. In the early 1960’s, Bob shifted premises to Barnard Street. He ran the family firm until 1970, when he sold the business to John and Bernadette O’Reilly.
The O’Reilly’s built on Hall and Moore’s firmly established reputation, operating the funeral home for thirty-one years. In 2001, Paul and Marie Lockyer bought the business. Paul had been a funeral director for many years, owning and running Waimate Funeral Home. His wife Marie had been a nurse. She shared her husband’s passion for the funeral business and her natural empathy for the sick and dying made her a huge asset. Together, they made a name for themselves as kind and caring funeral directors who would go the extra mile.
They grew the business, changed its name to Aoraki Funeral Home and on 12th December 2004, Timaru Mayor Janie Annear cut the ribbon on their new pride and joy, their purpose-built premises at 160 Mountain View Road. They remained at Aoraki until Shelley and Jim Wilson took over in 2013.
The funeral business has changed over the years, but one thing has remained the same – the sterling reputation of the business that is now Aoraki Funeral Services has remained intact.
The McBride Connection
In 1974, the O’Reilly’s needed to find work for their men in their downtime. Mr Arnold Earl ran McBride Monumental Masons, who were located in the premises now occupied by Pope Print on Sophia Street. The business had been started by Samuel McBride, who had been building and supplying monuments, plaques and headstones to the South Canterbury community since about 1871. He was a fine craftsman and his work was renowned throughout the district. Arnold kept up the tradition of highly skilled design and implementation.
Mr Earl was looking forward to retirement. It was a natural match. The O’Reilly’s bought McBride’s Monumental Masonry business, solving the problem of extra work to keep their men employed and Arnold Earl got his retirement. Although McBride’s became part of Hall and Moore, it kept its illustrious name, as it does to this day.