There's a place in Katikati where people go to talk about death.
But don't think it's macabre or sad, says its coordinator, it's just comforting.
Irene Maxwell-Curnock runs Death Cafe in Katikati.
''If you can help someone with what they're going through, they feel that someone understands, they can realise that what they are going through is grief. People who come to Death Cafe get comfort from it.''
The Death Cafe meets every third Friday at Katikati Community Centre.
Some people cringe at the name, Irene says.
''It's called Death Cafe because they want people to realise that death is an important part of living.''
According to deathcafe.com, its objective is ''to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives''.
Situations vary for those who attend the cafes throughout the world.
''It's an open forum. People are free to share whatever they want.
''It can be any loss. The loss of a loved one or pet. Losing your job or relationship — that's a death of something.
''Another thing is as you get older you can suffer a tremendous amount of loss... such as people retiring and no longer working. The ageing process itself can be a continual process of loss.''
Irene is a qualified counsellor. However, Death Cafe is not a bereavement group and she does not counsel, Irene says. One of the Death Cafe concepts is anyone can ask questions and anyone can answer.
''There are a lot of questions that people would like to ask but don't know where to go. There is no recognition of grieving in our society, there used to be, so for many there's nowhere they can feel comfortable talking about this. Grief is a process.''
Subjects chatted about can vary greatly at death cafes, Irene says, and no topic is off the table. People are invited to talk about their feelings of loss, philosophical or spiritual elements - such as near death experiences, the afterlife - or more practical subjects such as funerals.
There are death cafes all over the world. The model was developed by English founder Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid, based on the ideas of Swiss sociologist Bernard Crettaz.
Irene was in a West Auckland group before moving to Katikati six years ago and starting a group. It ran for four years before taking a hiatus for a few years — Irene started it up again last year with Carole Moselen.
Irene also runs a social group for older people at the community centre called Wise and Wonderful.
What: Death Cafe
Where: Katikati Community Centre
When: Every third Friday of the month from 1.30-3pm
Contact: Katikati Community centre on 549 0399