Host – Timothy Giles

Timothy Giles has a varied career, from broadcasting and communications consultancy, to funeral celebrancy and facilitation. In this role, he has worked across the globe in his specialty of resilience.  A focus which led him, he says, inevitably, to take on death, grief and loss. Each episode is a conversation that draws on his most important role, above all, Timothy Giles, is a listener and creates space for people to talk into.

Learn more about our host here:

Maria Millar

Maria is a bereavement support worker with The Grief Centre, providing phone support to those people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The Grief Centre services are designed to offer grief and loss support to children, youth, adults, families, or whanau experiencing any form of significant loss, and as well as phone support, also offers face to face counselling. The Grief Centre also provides training, professional development, and staff sessions for professionals, community workers, and organisations.

Maria also works as a face to face counsellor in other settings, where she is often called upon to provide counselling for people going through a process of grief and loss, as it pertains to all areas of life – whether that is loss due to death, the end of a relationship, the end of a job or career, or loss of life-dreams, to name just a few types of loss.

Maria’s interest in grief and loss began when she was very young, influenced by the fact that her parents were funeral directors, and she grew up in a funeral parlour. While training to become a counsellor, Maria was fortunate enough to secure a placement as a student counsellor at Mercy Hospice, and from there, her interest and specialisation in the area of grief and loss has steadily grown.

Alongside her work, Maria is also currently studying for her Master of Counselling through The University of Auckland. Perhaps not surprisingly, her master’s research subject is in the area of grief and loss.

Learn more about The Grief Centre here:

Gary Taylor

Gary began his career in the funeral profession in 1982 in the UK. In 2004 he moved to NZ with my Kiwi-born partner, Teresa, and her two children where he began working at Morris & Morris in Whangarei. In 2006 he took on the Northland General Manager’s roll, over seeing both Morris & Morris branches, Scotts Funeral Services in Kerikeri and Geards Funeral Home in Kaitaia. Not only this, Gary is also the president of the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand. He was a key influencer and advisor to the New Zealand government during the Covid-19 and was vital to the change in policy to eventually allow small gatherings for funerals.

Learn more about The Funeral Directors Association of NZ here:

Sara Lane

In September 2007 I gave birth to our first son. Following complications with the pregnancy, Josh was stillborn at 21 weeks gestation. I was admitted to hospital and induced and endured full labour. We were advised to take in a camera with us, which we remember at the time thinking was weird. We are so grateful for that advice. We were able to spend time with our son and take photos. Physically on the outside he was perfect, unfortunately his heart was broken and ours were too. As we left the hospital with empty arms we felt so isolated and alone. None of our friends had been through the same experience. Why us? We had an urgent need to find other parents who had been through this, people who would we could connect with.
My midwife sent us information about Baby Loss Awareness week and a family event run by Sands Auckland that was happening. We were overwhelmed at the amount of people in attendance, all who had been affected by baby loss. We attended monthly support groups and it was a relief to hear that the emotions experienced were normal. We are now 13 years through our grief journey, and whilst the loss and hurt does not go away we have learned how to carry it. As a way of giving back and helping other families through their own journey my husband and I joined the committee for Sands Auckland, and I am also on the board for Sands NZ.

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have
experienced the death of a baby at any gestation and under any circumstance. There are over 20 groups/contact people around the country. All of the people involved in Sands give their time and energy voluntarily – we are not a government funded organisation. We do not have any paid staff. Most of our members/supporters are also bereaved parents. Sands offers empathy and understanding. We are not counsellors but do importantly offer an opportunity to share experiences, talk and listen. The Sands group allows for recognition, acceptance and expression of our babies and our grief. We promote awareness, understanding and support for those dealing with the death of a baby in pregnancy, birth or as a newborn, and due to medical termination or other forms of reproductive loss. We also provide support packs and memory making items to hospitals. Parents and their families who experience the death of a baby, in pregnancy, birth, as a newborn, and those who may be subsequently pregnant, are welcome to contact us.

Learn more about Sands here:

Martin Williams

Martin joined the funeral industry in 1980 and has worked in many rolls from a locum funeral director to owning his own funeral home for 17 years. Martin joined Davis Funeral Services in 2018 and is now Branch Manager of Davis Funerals Papatoetoe. Martin also holds a National Certificate in Embalming. Outside of work, Martin is a proud Freemason, rising to the position of Master of the Lodge 3 times. He is currently Chaplain of the Freemasons Lodge Manurewa.

Learn more about Davis Funeral Services here:

Daetona Rawiri

Daetona was introduced to Davis through a gateway programme at high school. After some work experience he realised that the funeral industry is where he wants to forge a career . He aspires to become an embalmer but also enjoys the opportunity to support families in their time of need. Daetona feels strongly about introducing young people to the funeral industry and lifting the ‘taboo’ of talking about death and dying with teenagers. As a child, he was encouraged to be comfortable around the deceased and has found that those experiences have enabled him to now be able to help others to talk about and experience death ion a positive way.

Jill Goldson

Jill is the Director of The FamiIy Matters Centre and has worked with families, individuals,and couples for over 30 years. She works as a family mediator in the out of court family law process and with family mediation. She has received awards for her research and published writing, she has also been made a Churchill Fellow and has lectured in counselling and social work at tertiary level for 10 years. Jill trains other professionals and is called on by the media, and is appointed by Ministry of Justice Reviews for expertise and comment. Jill is also often invited to give papers both in New Zealand and internationally.

Learn more about The Family Matters Centre here:

Trish Guttenbeil

In 2018 at the age of 47, Trish’s husband Jason (45 years old) passed away from cancer after a diagnosis 11 months earlier. She is a mum of four and an advocate for empowering widows, fatherless children, believes in the strength of the family unit and the importance of building emotional and financial resilience and personal responsibility in creating a life of abundance.

My philosophy is life is an adventure and sometimes you don’t get a choice in what’s handed to you however it’s not what happens to you but it’s how you respond to it. Whatever circumstances that you find yourself in can be managed and rebuilding your life after a major loss or life event is something that can be created. Life was a fun adventure with Jason and while the future life we planned together was taken away from us, the life we shared together is forever and can never be taken away.

Trish works as a logistics administrator and lives in Auckland with her four children. She grew up in Wellington and Jason grew up in Whangarei. They were married 19 years and together for 25 years. They were expats for 7 years with Jason’s work in manufacturing operations management and have lived and worked in Australia, Mexico and Vietnam between 1998-2006. They have travelled throughout Mexico, USA, Carribean and Asia and learned Spanish and Vietnamese.

Learn more about Trish’s story here:

Mark Wilson

Mark has a lived experience of suicide and facilitates a bereavement support group in Auckland called Solace. His wife Zita, died by suicide in 2006, since then he has become passionate about educating people on the suicide loss experience and helping make healthy connections with other bereaved. When he’s not at work, Mark enjoys spending time with his family and friends and has become an e-bike convert, making his daily commute to and from work something to look forward to rather than dread – except when he’s rained on.

Learn more about Solace here:

Reverend Mua strickson-Pua

REV. MUA STRICKSON-PUA: Ngati Hamoa Cantonese Saina Irsih French Gafa Whakapapa Aiga Pua Nu’u PapaSataua Aiga Purcell Nu’u Malaela Aleipata Upolu Samoa. Ordained Presbyterian Minister with Linda celebrating 30 years. Graduates of Massey University & Knox Theological College Otago University. Married to Linda Strickson-Pua parents & grandparents. Published poet & short story writer, exhibited Lavalava Artist, Pasifikan urban Street Historian [Pua Brothers], storyteller, comedian, actor, dancer, and Spiritual Cultural Adviser for TV & Movie projects. Linda and I Tautua Tangata Whenua, Tagata Pasifika nations communities, Ngati Pakeha Palagi & Tauiwi family of humanity through our Community Development Ministry of Fa’atuatuaga Hope praxis.

Keith King

Keith’s philosophy is that life is a mysterious journey. We all find language to explain that journey. Some use religious imagery, some images form nature and humanity and others look to science. With that in mind Keith likes to work with people to find a language and style that best meets their needs. His own journey has taken him through Christianity and ordination as an Anglican priest, to comparative religion and spirituality and more recently an exploration of Quantum Theory. ‘In the end’ he says, ‘it’s all mystery – and that’s how I like it!’ Keith has been creating ritual and ceremonies for over 30 years and with his extensive experience is able to span a wide range of possibilities. He has an informal style but recognises the need to create pathos and presence. As a ‘people person’ he is keen to ensure everyone gathered feels part of the ceremony and he is keen to ensure the main players are relaxed and at ease. Keith says, ‘Rituals of all kinds provide important markers in our journey through life – markers that help us to move on but are also there to help us re-member…’

Learn more about Keith here:

Nic Russell

Nic Russell founded Kenzie’s Gift in 2006 with the intent of providing appropriate and research-based psychosocial support for children, young people and their families experiencing serious illness or bereavement within the family.

Nic has a degree in Psychology and a post-graduate degree in Communications Management and PR. Specialising in the health and social sector, Nic has extensive experience in campaign development, stakeholder management and championing social issues.

Learn more about Kenzie’s gift here: