A trained sign language interpreter, marriage celebrant and social worker, Deb Cairns also has a strong entrepreneurial background having founded Phoenix Organics, together with husband Chris.
Her interest in home or family-directed funerals came about as the result of helping lay out a dear friend who died several years ago from cancer. “She made her wishes for after death care very plain and it was a privilege to be involved in this last act of love. I was moved by the simplicity, beauty and healing benefits of having a loved one at home for a few days after death,” says Deb.
This intensely personal experience encouraged Deb to research home-based funerals and after death care. In 2005, Deb arranged for Jerrigrace Lyons of leading United States home funeral organisation, Final Passages, to conduct a seminar and workshop here in New Zealand.
“That workshop was incredibly empowering. Together with my business partner Fran, we realised we had this wonderful opportunity to provide families with support, guidance and home-based alternatives to current funeral practices. State of Grace is the result of that vision,” says Deb.
Deb lives in Grey Lynn and is happily married to Chris. They have four wonderful children and a much-loved grandson.
She is a keen Dragon Boater and competes with a women’s team in Auckland.