The Coffin Club: Elderly New Zealanders Building Their Own Caskets

Wold you feel more comfortable about your passing if you built your own coffin? It’s becoming a world-wide trend for some, not only to save money, but also to celebrate their life better. Retirees around the world have formed clubs so they can get together and build their own coffins. They say the activity also helps to combat loneliness. Former palliative care nurse Katie Williams, of New Zealand says because of her work and her age, she had become a perpetual mourner”, but found the deceased at funerals deserved a more personal farewell and so, launched the Kiwi Coffin Club in her garage, with no idea even how to construct a coffin. But after a host of handy local men came on-board the club took off, and soon moved to a larger facility to cater to its swelling numbers. Hers is stored in a cupboard at home til needed and says her motto is; “it’s just a box until there is someone in it”.

Note: As well as members building their own coffins (home-made coffins cost just NZ$250) the group also construct baby coffins for the local hospital, which they donate for free. Williams says the club is particularly appealing to Maori people, who often have large families and find the cost of funerals “crippling”, and families who come from “stiff-upper lip backgrounds”, who may have previously found it difficult to confront the impending death of a loved one.

(Source: Jeanette Higgins, the guardiancom; Image: Katie Williams, guardian.com)

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