Coffin Club makes mini versions for babies

By, Whare Akuhata

Rotorua's Coffin Club, whose members are retired people who make their own coffins, is now turning out miniature ones for babies who have died.

The club is part of the Rotorua University of the Third Age and has received national publicity.

Recently it was approached by the Lakes Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) committee and asked if members would build miniature coffins to be donated to families who were in need of care and help.

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby.

They have more than 25 groups/contact people throughout New Zealand, including Rotorua.

Local Sands co-ordinator Jennifer Anastasi said the club was asked because there was no reliable supply of coffins for babies.

She said the Coffin Club agreed to help and their efforts were proving to be a great boost for Sands, which generally needed five small coffins on hand.

At least one coffin a month was required for a baby's death in the district.

Ms Anastasi said families often sourced their own but some needed help getting them and the group was pleased with its new arrangement with the local club.

"It's been great they could help with this and fantastic to get it done locally."

The group was investigating the possibility of the arrangement becoming permanent "if the Coffin Club are happy".

Coffin Club spokeswoman Chris Mills said the group was enthusiastic about the project and members were only too happy to help.

"We have the time to do it and space to do it."

She said the club, which had about 30 members, wanted to be involved long-term and for no charge.

"We are looking at doing this for no cost relying on our contacts and people we know.

"We are hoping the materials will be donated and our time is free."

Mrs Mills said the first shipment of 10 small coffins was ready.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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