The abandoned Grays Funeral Home site - next to Kauae Cemetery on Ngongotaha Rd - is one step closer to becoming a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit.

Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands reluctantly took over the site in 2014 after Grays Funeral Services was placed in receivership.

Te Utuhina Manaakitanga, a community-based counselling service, signed a lease to take over the site last March.

Originally planning to be in the site within a few months, the move has fallen behind schedule, but the service began moving into the building late January.


Te Utuhina Manaakitanga general manager Donna Blair said a blessing was held at the site this month.

"We held the blessing very early on a Friday morning, it was attended by staff past and present, kaumatua and kuia from Te Arawa," she said.

Having moved into the new building Ms Blair said she was pleased with how peaceful the new site was.

"The place has really come alive," she said.

"We're finishing unpacking, and just enjoying the tranquillity."

A formal opening will be held later this year.