Kapiti Coast Funeral Home's loss and grief centre has been a long time in the making.

Its origins started in 1992 when director Andrew Malcolm was working at another funeral home.

"I wanted to be able to follow up families that I looked after because you get really involved with a family, almost part of them, and then you move onto the next family, and then a short time later you wonder how they are.

"So I started ringing people up and finding out that the ones I thought were doing really well weren't, and the ones I thought would be a disaster were actually doing really well.


"By coincidence I rang someone and it was the person's birthday, and I thought 'I should have known that because I've got the person's file'.

"From that point on I'd write down when their wedding anniversary was, when their birthday was, and then the death anniversary, so I knew the strategic blocks through the year, and then I put it on a calendar."

Kapiti Bereavement Services carried on when he had his own funeral home but a few years ago the need to extend it further was identified.

Staff would ring people up to see how they were doing and, for example, "they might say 'terrible I've lost my job'.

"So it wasn't just grief, but it was loss, and there's a whole raft of losses, and then finally there are other organisations who are starting to look at the same thing."

A cafe area in the Loss & Grief Centre Kāpiti. Photo / David Haxton
A cafe area in the Loss & Grief Centre Kāpiti. Photo / David Haxton

He'd heard about a woman called Caroline Loo, who had lost a child, and set up a grief and loss centre in Invercargill. There are now five such centres in Southland.

Andrew met her at a conference, they talked about what each had been doing, and she told him he needed to find a home for the services his funeral home was doing.

So the funeral home bought a building, at 1 Kapiti Rd, Paraparaumu, in the former Office Products building.


The building, which is across the road from Kapiti Coast Funeral Home, has been transformed into the Loss & Grief Centre Kāpiti.

At the centre people can do online courses, read various books, have one on one counsellors, join a support group, attend a seminar, find out about other help organisations, and when not in use, it will be available for others to use.

"It's a needed thing which is much bigger than I ever anticipated when I started making those little phone calls to people."

The Loss & Grief Centre Kāpiti officially opens on Friday, July 31.

People are invited to have a look through from 1pm to 3pm.