‘Affordable Underground Furniture’: D.I.Y. Coffin Clubs Catch On in New Zealand
SYDNEY, Australia — Roger Terry and his wife, Grace, have little interest in quilting, fishing or book clubs. Instead, they meet with other retired friends each Tuesday at a disused sports center to build coffins, a hobby that has gathered followers across New Zealand.
“We have a heap of fun,” said Grace Terry, 77, a former nurse in Hawke’s Bay, on the North Island of New Zealand. “I’ve seen people come alive making their own coffins.”
Mrs. Terry’s own coffin, painted mauve and decorated with deep purple hydrangea blooms, sits in the couple’s home, waiting to be lined.
Mr. Terry, chairman of the Hawke’s Bay D.I.Y. Coffin Club and a former fiberglass molding specialist, said the club, established in 2013, had 120 members. The oldest is 94, with mid-70s being the average.
罗杰·特里以前是一名玻璃纤维模具专家，现为霍克斯湾DIY棺木俱乐部(Hawke’s Bay D.I.Y. Coffin Club)主席。他说该俱乐部创建于2013年，有120名会员。年纪最大的94岁，平均年龄则在75岁左右。
“It gives us old fellas something of interest, something to do,” he said. “But it also serves a purpose.”
The country’s first coffin club was established in 2010 by a palliative care nurse, Katie Williams, in a makeshift workshop in her yard in Rotorua, also on the North Island.
“It grew from there,” said the treasurer of the Kiwi Coffin Club Rotorua, Joanne La Grouw, 66, who decorated her mother’s coffin, including the beading inside. The club’s motto is “fine and affordable underground furniture.”
“它从那里发展壮大，”罗托鲁亚奇异棺木俱乐部(Kiwi Coffin Club Rotorua)66岁的会计乔安娜·拉格豪(Joanne La Grouw)说。拉格豪为她母亲的棺材做了装饰，其中包括里边的小珠饰。该俱乐部的口号是“负担得起的优质地下家私”。
The caskets are inscribed with the club’s initials, K.C.C., and are built to meet national standards: Each has a waterproof lining and is strong enough to hold a body.
The coffins are made from particleboard kits and are shaped like traditional caskets or as rectangles.
They can also double as aboveground furniture at home, disguised with cushions or blankets, until it is time for their primary purpose.
“We like to say it is only a box until you put someone in it,” said Ms. La Grouw, whose mother died at 94 last year.
The coffin kits cost about $170, significantly less than what an undertaker would charge for a coffin of similar quality. Club membership in Rotorua is about $7 a year and $17 in Hawke’s Bay.
Mrs. Terry said that once people finish creating their own coffins at the club, they often build others for charity, or return to help other members. “It’s very social,” she said.