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A Rotorua charitable organisation says it would be one of the first to agree with the need to buy and support local during these unprecedented times.

Kiwi Coffin Club Charitable Trust treasurer and trustee, Ron Wattam says the trust buys materials to make coffins locally, such as medium density fibreboard, plywood and timber.

Its general fittings and hardware fittings come from Rotorua too, he says.

Kiwi Coffin Club Charitable Trust members (from left) Cynthia Clark, Ron Wattam, and John Short. Photo / Andrew Warner
Kiwi Coffin Club Charitable Trust members (from left) Cynthia Clark, Ron Wattam, and John Short. Photo / Andrew Warner

The trust's purpose is to make coffins cheaper and more affordable for the community.

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Ron says there are 20 of them who come together every Wednesday to work on making the coffins, with no-one getting paid and people giving their time free.

Funds raised from the coffins are then used to support the community in a number of ways, supporting charities such as Sunset School Breakfast Club, Little Love Foundation, Hospice and the Obstetric Unit at Rotorua Hospital.

Ron says last year they also donated to the Samoan measle epidemic, which was thousands of dollars.

He says they put most of the money raised back into Rotorua and Bay of Plenty.

He says they get the materials needed for good prices from local suppliers, which all helps the trust to carry on doing what it does for the community, so supporting and buying local goes full circle.

Although they were an essential service, Ron says the trust did not get a single phone call for seven weeks.

However, since moving into level 2 the trust's activity has gone back to "rocketing along", and it has about 10 orders at the moment.