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2023 hui and seminars

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October and November Events


We have three events planned for November.  Firstly we plan two more Sunday seminar/hui:

Annie Meredith, a doula from Gisborne/Tairāwhiti will come to talk about her work supporting whānau after the death of a still born or young baby.  Annie and Claire have been working with hospitals and other organisations around the country to support them to develop practices that give whānau time to be with their baby, to take their time to grieve their momentous loss. Ruth wrote an article about Annie and her work with Manaaki Mats. You can find it here.

Sunday 5 November, 3 -4.30, side entrance, Disabilities Resource Centre Trust, 141 King Street, Kopeopeo, Whakatāne.

Advance Care Planning. We began our series with a hui on this really important planning tool and many regular attendees will have at least begun theirs. But there will be others who still need a bit more information. This will be an opportunity to share our ideas and support one another to get these finished and lodged with our general practitioners and whānau.

 Sunday 19 November, 3 -4.30, side entrance, Disabilities Resource Centre Trust, 141 King Street, Kopeopeo, Whakatāne.



Then we have our funeral guide/pou herenga training                   on 25/26 November:

Nga Pou Herenga

Honouring Traditions: a workshop for funeral guides



In times of grief and loss, the traditional practices of whānau and community care provided comfort and support for generations.  In recent decades knowledge of these practices has been lost as the care of tūpāpaku was passed to professional funeral directors.



This workshop is designed for funeral guides seeking to offer meaningful, culturally rich experiences to bereaved families. Join us on a journey that celebrates the beauty of preparation and rituals, empowering whānau to navigate their grief with grace and dignity.



  • The history and significance of traditional care practices.

  • A background to the work of our organisation which replaces the need for funeral directors while meeting all legal requirements. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of the bereaved, honouring the beauty of our cultural heritages.

  • Create a peaceful, sacred space, with karakia and waiata

  • Learn the art of body care, including washing, dressing, and adorning the tūpāpaku with respect and dignity

  • Collaborate with fellow participants, sharing rituals that bring healing to the process.

  • Understand the role of the pou herenga/funeral guides as pillars of manaakitanga and compassion


Facilitators: Claire Turnham, Sharday Cable and Jo Tahuri

(see Claire's website here)


Dates and Venue

  • Saturday 25 November 2023    9.30 – 4 pm

  • Sunday   26 November, 2023    8.30 – 2.30 pm

Venue: Whakatāne, to be advised


Enrolment: Places are limited. Participants must enrol.

Email for enrolment forms


Cost  We have some funding from Bay Trust for Eastern Bay of Plenty collective members. A koha towards the cost of the venue and lunches would be appreciated.  For those outside our rohe, or not intending to join the collective: $350.


Bring a notebook and pen, an open heart and mind, a willingness to learn, share ideas and connect.


September News

Very exciting news!  Five Moemai Pads/Cold Plates have arrived from Holland funded by Trust Horizon.

These are easy to use as an alternative to embalming.

A recent programme on TV3 Hui's programme featured Whakatāne based Pou Herenga Sharday Cable Ranapia and some words from Ruth Gerzon about the issues and Nga Pou Herenga/the Collective.  Here's the link: TV3 Hui 1 August 2023.

Also Coroner Hesketh has sent us copies of the booklet on Coronial Services so let us know if you'd like some.

New options for after death care:changing rituals

This is the title of the next in our Sunday afternoon hui. We will have a panel of speakers, a celebrant, a funeral director and others talking about the changes they have seen over the past decades. All welcome.

Sunday 25 June 3-4.30 at the Disabilities Resource Centre Trust (side entrance), 141 King Street, Whakatāne

The End of Life Choice Act

Helen O’Shaughnessy of the End-of-Life Choice Society is a nurse and Irish New Zealander was our guest speaker on Sunday 11 June 2023.  She gave us an update of this new Act which enables those within 6 months of dying to have a medically assisted death and answered our many questions. The End of Life Choice Society website is a mine of good information for those who wish to explore this option.  Ruth Gerzon wrote a personal article about her thoughts and Helen's background and you can find it here.

Ka mate korero: Dying2Know

Fortnightly Sunday afternoon seminars/hui

    in Whakatāne and by Zoom

3-4.30 pm Disabilities Resource Centre (side entrance),

141 King St, Kopeopeo, Whakatāne 

an opportunity  to learn, reflect and prepare.


Dates and Topics:

16 April     Advance Care Planning and Power of Attorney

30 April    Death, dying, hapū and communities: Māori and                             Pākehā history Jean Hera and Nancy Tait

14 May     Kay Ryan:  supporting people at the end of life

28 May     Living with Bereavement; Anihera Tahu-Hepworth                       Ngati Porou/Tuhoe Counsellor MNZAC and Ron Hepworth 

11 June      Choice at the end of life: assisted dying Helen                                  O’Shaughnessy, End of Life Choice Society

25 June     New options for after death care: changing rituals,                          and the influence   of tangihanga on Pākehā funerals,                      supporting whānau after the death of an infant

9 July         The role of the coroner

If you are not on our email list then send us your email and we can send updates.

Loss, Grief and Finding Your Way Home:

everyday ways to claim ownership of the grief and loss process

Two counsellors: Anihera Tahu Hepworth, Tūhoe, Ngati Porou and her tane, Ron Hepworth will facilitate our hui on Sunday 28 May.

Click here to read an interview with them.

Here is Anihera's brief bio:

I have lived experienced of several significant losses including death of both my parents in 1996 and then my husband of 10 years in 2005.

I am a qualified Counsellor since 2014 working in private practice with people from all walks of life dealing with a range of issues including grief and loss.

Here are some useful resources they recommend:

There are some excellent resources at the NZ Grief Centre website.

Leaflets are on:

Grief after death of a child; Grief after losing your partner; Post-traumatic growth; Sudden death; Supporting children through loss; Understanding grief.

There’s also a variety of TED talks on Grief 

You will find them here


Child bereavement.

Jenni Thomas is excellent. You can listen to her here or  here.  


Kay Ryan: co-author of Doorways into Dying: Innovative Teachings for         End of Life

Kay Ryan was  our guest presenter in our Sunday afternoon hui  on 14 April 2023.

Click here to read an article about Kay and her work.

Here is her brief bio:

I have worked as a psychotherapist for over 35 years. Apart from my personal experiences of loss, I was privileged to work for some time in a hospice where I cared for the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the dying and their whanau.  I also supported staff and taught them about being present with the dying in ways that supported their various experiences. 

I have since returned to Rotorua where I was born and where I am spending my elder years. I am a member of Te Atatwhai Aroha Trust which seeks to support all people through experiences of death, loss, and grief. 

Click here to read her handout.

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