Our Blog


Beautiful funeral music

We often hear music that succinctly and sadly expresses some of the pain and grief felt at the time of a death, but this one always gets us teary! (Skip the little ad at the start).

Joy Fraser

Joy Fraser and the lovely silk shroud


One of the things we love so much about current funeral practices is the ability for famlies to have so much choice around almost every aspect of a funeral.  Here at State of Grace we offer a wide range of vessels for cremation, from the simple honesty of the cardboard coffin right through to our lovely David Trubridge pod, with many other choices in between.

We have been lucky enough to have the gorgeous silk shrouds designed by Miranda Brown and one of our familes recently created the most stunning farewell for their Mum using the shroud. Joy Fraser, whose Mum – Beryl – had died, organised most of the funeral herself and even acted as the celebrant at the service which was more of a family gathering, sharing stories and lovely memories with Beryl lying in state in her beautiful shroud.  Beryl had loved her garden, so Joy decided to create a garden around her. You can see from the photos (generously shared by Joy) that Beryl was indeed lying in a bed of flowers. We thought it ws so beautiful that it had to be shared and Joy was only too happy for us to tell you all about it in the hope that it may provide some inspiration.

Thank you Joy.


Back from beautiful Bali


Wow. We have had quite a month. Fran and I decided it was time for a break, so we left our families at home, convinced Rachel and Caro that yes they would be fine to run the business without us, and we headed off to the beautiful island of Bali.

Little did we know how perfect our timing was to be! It just so happened that we arrived during the week that mass cremations were happening, including a Royal cremation taking place from the palace in Ubud, where we were staying. The community was abuzz, with cremation preparations taking place in every nook and cranny. Hopefully I can atttach some pictures of the busy-ness that we witnessed – it was simply amazing. Three months work went into the cremation tower for the Royal cremation – a tower that was 30 metres high – and every inch was lovingly decorated by hand. The entire tower was carried on a bamboo platform carried by 100 men from the palace to the cemetery, over 1 km away. There the disinterred remains are placed into a huge replica bull, and burned. The ashes are later scattered at sea. Even the smaller villages had days and days of work going into their slightly  more modest cremations – each person being cremated still had the replica bull for their bones to be placed in. The remains are dug up from the grave by the family – the person could have been buried there anything up to five years before and waiting for an auspicious date, or for a time when the family could afford a cremation. The bones are carefully cleaned by family, then placed in a small dwelling awaiting the cremation.

It seems the entire island was engaged in some kind of cremation activity, so there was plenty of opportunity for us to stop and ask questions, take pictures, find out more and people were so generous with their time. When they found out that we were funeral directors, they without exception immediately exclaimed “Oh, good karma!”. Phew!

Aside from our cremation experiences in Bali, we had time for plenty of adventures, Most days we got up early, had some breakfast, put our backpacks on and headed off, exploring villages, rice paddies, countryside, talking to people and generally doing as we pleased. It was fabulous and we have come home with renewed energy for our work and for our families. Only now do we realise how tired we were before the trip. We have had funerals every day since our return, and everything seems to be so much more manageable.

We want to thank Rachel and Caro AGAIN for doing such a fantastic job of running State of Grace while we were gone, and coping with a very busy time with quite a few families to look after at once, Thank you, two wonderful women, we are lucky to have you.


Carbon offset your cremation!


Thanks to the good people at Carbon4Good, we are now able to offset the emissions from each cremation and so are further along the sustainability road! They have calculated several factors for each cremation, including use of the car to transport the coffin, the coffin itself and the energy used by the cremator. We will be able to have two trees planted for each cremation, starting this week. This offset will add a cost of $10 to each cremation. We are very excited about this development, as we move closer and closer to becoming a fully sustainable funeral compamy. We hope that other funeral companies follow our lead.

Consumption Tonnes CO2 Produced Explanation
Natural Gas 3.6GJ 0.194 1000kWh
= 3.6GJ and
3.6GJ of Natural Gas = 0.194
tonnes CO2  (ACE
Casket 0.025 kg of 0.031 MFE
emission factor for wood burned by industry is
wood 1.26 per kg so, 0.025 wood
makes 0.031 tonnes CO2
Human Remains 14kg of carbon 0.051324 In an 80 kg person, 14kg of
that is carbon.
Out of 80 kg Every 1000kg of carbon
converts to 3666kg of CO2.
Per person 1000kgC/3666kgCO2=14kgC/X
X= 51.324 kgCO2,  51.324kgCO2=.0051324tonnesCO2
Transport 1.776litres of 0.00355 16km/100km= .16,  11.1 litres*.16=1.776 litres,
petrol 1 litre
of petrol produces 0.002 tonnes of CO2.
0.00355tonnes of CO2.
Total 0.28 Sum of Nat. Gas, Casket,
Human Remains and Transport
Trees to plant 2 Number of CO2 in tonnes
divided by .15


The wonderful McCafferty quilt

We had the privilege of caring for William McCafferty recently, and were struck but the beautiful quilt lying across his coffin. The family very kindly allowed me to come and take some pictures. The quilt was made by Veronica Hampton, one of the family, who has created a real heirloom The quilt travels around the country as a comforter, and whoever needs it uses it for as long as they need to. It has spent some time in Christchurch where some of the family suffered through the earthquake, various places prior to that, and accompanied Bill on his final days at home.




Suggestions of support/interest groups?

We have had a few phone calls here at State of Grace that have promoted me to take action of behalf of our families who are left feeling that they now have too much time on their hands since their husband/wife/partner has died. It is tough facing a future alone, and in the last week I have spoken to three of our families who have someone needing a bit of help with how to fill their day.

We would welcome suggestions of interesting groups/ organisations and fulfilling things for people to put their energy into. Some of our families have joined choirs, bowls, CAB,  and we would love to know what other meaningful and satisfying opportunities there are out there for us to pass on.

So – if you know of any groups requiring volunteers, or any other helpful suggestions – please let us know.


Miranda Brown Evening.

We held a small event/fundraiser last week,  showcasing the stunning fashion designs by Miranda Brown. Mirand worked with us to create our silk shroud, and has also applied some of the prints in her summer collection to beautiful new ‘Passing sheets” – pure cotton sheets to be palced around a body, with pockets above the heart to pop special messages/mementos into. They will be on the the website later this week and will cost $90.

The night here was just great – house was full of happy chatting women, eating lovely food and drinking wine, and strutting about in gorgeous clothes for each other to admire. Really recommend having a look at her website – www.mirandabrown.co.nz. All made locally, sustainably, and available online. Look out for further collaborations between us.



We recently organised a massage for a family member who was at the end of her tether, and she reported that is was so beneficial and allowed her to really be present at the funeral, rather than completely lost in her grief. This got us thinking about how we could support other families in this way. So, we put the call out on our Facebook page (have you been there and ‘liked’ us yet?), asking for recommendations of massage therapists.

The first people to offer us something were the lovely people from Tamara Spa (www.tamaraspa.co.nz). They have offered us as many vouchers as we need for $50 off any treatment. We are grateful to them for their kindness and will encourage families to take time out for a bit of body work to help them through.

We have had other people give us the contacts for their favourite massage people, and will add them after we have collected their information and costs etc and put them on this blog.


Almost got to the fashion show…..

We have had such a busy week – five funerals – really pushes us to capacity. So Fran and I were very excited about our invitation to the Starfish fashion show at Fashion week. We were fellow contenders for the Emerging Business at the Sustainable Business Awards a few years ago, and they won! No hard feelings from us, they have such beautiful clothes and committed to sustainability. Check them out at www.starfish.co.nz

 Fran and I were going to the show straight from a funeral so taking the hearse for a city outing, dressed to the nines of course.  It was with some disappointment therefore when I chatted with a friend earlier today ton find that she had thoroughly enjoyed the Starfish show LAST NIGHT! I got the date wrong……. I forced her to give me the details of the goodie bag which made things worse.  Fran says it is because I am old, but I know it is because we are so busy!

We took ourselves off to Villa Maria for lunch instead, and ended up investigating it as a potential venue for funerals  – an amazing big space called the Barrel Room which would be perfect for up to 300 people,and a great finger food menu. Really beautiful and peaceful surroundings. We will add it to our venue page soon.