Our pledge is to support you in your time of need with consideration, understanding and respect, for the deceased, their family and the wider community.
Gillions Funeral Services
Phone: 03 455 2128
Freephone: 0800 85 85 55
Fax: 03 455 4880
Email: support@gillions.co.nz
407 Hillside Road, Dunedin 9012, New Zealand

Writing a Tribute

You may wish to make a personal tribute, or write something to say as a tribute, at a funeral. Friends, family members, colleagues, members of clubs and societies can all be called upon to offer a tribute. When you are asked to deliver a tribute, the following guide may help you choose the right words and deliver them with confidence.


Unless you are an experienced public speaker, around three minutes is a comfortable length. This equates to approximately 300 to 350 words.


Many people try to write a potted history of the deceased for their tribute, but this is more correctly the role of a eulogy. A much more personal approach is to focus on something specific. For example, a particular quality of the person, such as kindness, generosity or thoughtfulness, and examples of how this was demonstrated make a meaningful tribute.

Alternatively, you might wish to recount a particular event in the person’s life, such as a significant achievement, or a fantastic holiday, and show what it revealed about their personality.


Don’t be afraid of putting humour into your tribute. As long as it is respectful and appropriate to the deceased, making the congregation laugh has the dual impact of reducing tension and making the tribute personal and unique.


This can be stressful for those of us who are unused to speaking in public. Remember, it is a sad occasion and showing emotion at a funeral is perfectly acceptable. It is a privilege to be asked to speak and your tribute will be welcomed.

Slowing your speech is important, as nervousness often results in too speedy a delivery. Making a conscious effort to slow down will make you far more audible to your audience, many of whom may be elderly and therefore hearing impaired.

If you feel you cannot deliver an address on the day, we can arrange to record your tribute to be played at the service.

If you are unable to attend but want to join the service remotely through Skype, we can arrange this. It will also allow you to speak to those present in real time.