Seniors in New Zealand Get Together to Decorate Their Own Coffins. This Is What You Call ‘Taming Death’

Some elderly people in New Zealand have got a very unusual approach to death. They arrange meetings where they decorate their own coffins.

Chatting about Death


In 2010 in Rotorua the Coffin Club was set up. It was established by a 77-year-old nurse called Katie Williams. The members of the club got together to openly talk about death and funerals which, in their opinion, are somewhat monotonous. After some time Williams realized that she wanted to create her own coffin. At the beginning it was thought to be rather controversial. However, at the end of the day there were many more people who agreed with her.

Customized coffins


Katie fund some elderly gentleman who were into carpentry and DIY, as well as a a couple of female artistic souls. In her garage they started to make and decorate coffins. Each to suit its future user. Coffin Club is still active and its member meet every week. Every Wednesdays the meetings are attended by 50 – 60 people. They all want to have some influence on what coffin their body will be buried in.

A cup of tea together


The meetings are held in a very friendly atmosphere. There are also people who have recently lost someone and they need to be with people to get a hug to go through these tough times. They drink tea, talk and have meals. They try to celebrate death (just like they celebrate life) and begin to get used to the thought that one day they will be gone.

Butterflies and Glitter

The seniors can also write their last wishes and, by decorating the coffins themselves they lower the burial costs. In New Zealand the cheapest coffins cost 5,000 NZD while the members of the club can make one for as little as 200!
They decorate the coffins in a variety of ways. Some of them go for calm colors while others choose floral patterns or plenty of glitter.

Taming Death

The idea of the Coffin Club caught on with so many seniors all over the Word that many clubs like that are set up in countries like Ireland, Great Britain or USA. Perhaps what helps people bear the thought of upcoming death is the awareness that there are many friendly people around them in the clubs.


See the witty video showing the seniors from the Coffin Club in New Zealand.

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