The Grief Centre | Loss and Grief Support The Grief Centre

Recognising a gap in support

Prior to 2004, Founding Trustee Maureen Frayling became aware of the lack of grief services available for those not being directly supported by the Hospice she worked for. In 2008 she organised a feasibility study of 36 diverse organisations and the results showed a gap in loss and grief services and frustration around the lack of places to refer people. 

The Grief Centre then became a registered charity CC38713.

We evolved

In 2009, Dil's Funeral Services was introduced to the project and with their support, the Grief Centre evolved. Over the years the Grief Centre’s services have continued to grow.

We now support over 8,000 children, adults, and families/whanau with counselling, support groups, bereavement support, and community talks, as well as extensive training programs for professionals in New Zealand and Australia.

We expanded

The Grief Centre supports over 10% of bereaved families in New Zealand, and since 2020, we have partnered with funeral homes across Australia.  We offer Bereavement Support services in partnership with funeral homes to provide support for their clients, and at the same time improve their reputation in the community.

We’re excited to be helping more people across both countries and expanding our mission of supporting people through all forms of loss and grief.

Poari kaitiaki

Our board of trustees

Photo of woman with short grey hair in front of brick wall

Maureen Frayling

Founder Trustee, Project Manager and Secretary

Maureen worked at the North Shore Hospice as a nurse, counsellor and teacher in the area of loss and grief for 15 years. She was involved for many years with the National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG). She initiated the development of the Grief Centre with support from North Shore Hospice and Dils Funeral Company. Maureen moved north to Whangarei in 2009. She is currently a lecturer and co-ordinator on the counselling major at North Tec in Whangarei.


Stephen Dil

Founder, Trustee and Chair

Stephen is Managing Director of Dil's Funeral Services. Through his daily work he has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing those affected by loss and grief. Stephen holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a Bachelor of Business Studies (Management) from Massey University and the National Diploma in Funeral Services.

Photo of man with short brown hair in front of brick wall
Photo of woman with mid length wavy hair in front of brick wall

Dr. Margaret Agee

Trustee

Margaret is an experienced counsellor, supervisor and counsellor educator who is a Life Member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and is now supervising, consulting and guest lecturing in private practice. She is passionate about the need for public and professional education about contemporary understandings of loss and grief, and for the provision of effective support for those experiencing grief in all its forms. Her involvement in the field includes establishing the first support group in Auckland for those bereaved by suicide, and research into counsellors’ experiences of client suicide; education in the provision of support following crises in schools; and fostering effective cross-cultural support in loss and grief.

For 20 years she was actively involved in the National Association for Loss and Grief and she is a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG). She is a founding member of the Board of the Grief Centre.

Sumita Paul

Trustee

Sumita brings a high level of experience and professionalism in managing family trusts, charitable trusts and investment portfolios through her 23 year career in the fiduciary and investment industry. In her role as Client Manager at Perpetual Guardian for over 12 years, she was responsible for advising clients on drafting wills, enduring power of attorney and setting up trusts. Administering a will as an executor and dealing with individuals & families coping with the loss of loved ones, was a core activity of the role. During that time she realised the importance of having the skills to deal with people who were grieving and the experience also highlighted the additional support people needed at this time.

In 2021, Sumita founded Athena Wealth NZ, an independent financial planning practice. She is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).

Photo of woman with mid length black hair standing in front of brick wall
Photo of woman with mid length wavy blond hair in front of brick wall

Monica Briggs

Trustee

Monica has held leadership roles in the health and not for profit sector for the last 25 years in Aotearoa, having moved here from the UK. She has previously served on the board of the National AIDs Foundation and the Public health Association. She is currently CEO for the Child Cancer Foundation, having held Head of Centre role for the Centre of Social Impact prior to that and CEO of the YWCA Auckland. She is drawn to causes which support and empower individuals and communities. She is also a member of AUT Business schools Industry Advisory Board.

Judy Bailey - Patron
Judy Bailey

Patron

Judy Bailey is a writer and broadcaster living in Auckland. A broadcaster for nearly four decades, Bailey’s television career began with the NZBC in Christchurch in 1971. Judy has long been an advocate for children. She has an enduring partnership with both World Vision, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Friends of Womens Refuge and most recently with Skylight. She is the patron of North Shore Hospice, and of Seasons, a grief programme for children. Judy is also the deputy chair, trustee and presenter for the Brainwave Trust, an organization that brings the latest research in neuroscience, particularly as it applies to the years from conception to three, to those who work with children and young families. 


Dr Robert A. Neimeyer - Patron
Dr Robert A. Neimeyer

Patron

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. is a professor in the Psychotherapy Research Area of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has conducted extensive research on the topics of death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention.Neimeyer has published 21 books, including Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss, Constructivist Psychotherapy, and Rainbow in the Stone, a book of contemporary poetry. The author of over 300 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops.


Kaimahi tari

Our office staff

Stephen is Managing Director of Dil's Funeral Services. Through his daily work he has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing those affected by loss and grief. Stephen holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a Bachelor of Business Studies (Management) from Massey University and the National Diploma in Funeral Services.

Stephen Dil - Acting General Manager
Stephen Dil

Acting General Manager

Brian Nicholas - Administration Manager
Brian Nicholas

Administration Manager

Brian has worked in the non-profit sector in New Zealand for more than 15 years and has an extensive financial and administrative background. His passion is listening – he believes that everyone has a story, that all people have a voice, and everyone deserves to be heard.

Brian classifies himself as ‘old school’. This is not only because he is old but mainly because he is of the generation that were taught to keep quiet when they were hurting and never to show emotion. He knows, from personal experience, that this is neither healthy nor sustainable, and that everybody will need someone to talk to at some time in their lives. He is grateful that wonderful organisations like the Grief Centre exist, grateful to be part of it and that he is contributing and helping people albeit in a small way.

Brian believes that humour and compassion are vital to maintaining a life balance. You will find Brian either, swimming, kayaking, on a squash or tennis court, with his head in a book, kicking or throwing a ball with the children and now grandchild, going for long walks or just simply wading in the shallows and using the quiet time to think.

Our Grants Manager Jemma collaborates closely with the team to secure grant funding and ensure it is used effectively for our New Zealand communities. Most of the grant funding brought in goes towards providing free and heavily subsidised loss and grief support and education. Jemma has found working with the Grief Centre both humbling and rewarding, opening her eyes to a type of support she never knew existed.

Jemma is grateful every working day for the positive impacts she is helping the Grief Centre to create and is passionate about supporting the charity to grow.

In her spare time you will find her playing with her young family, furry and not, on a little farm in North Auckland.

Jemma Hoyle - Grants Manager
Jemma Hoyle

Grants Manager

Larissa - Training and Digital Manager
Larissa

Training and Digital Manager

Nō Te Tai Tokerau, Whanganui me Te Tai Rawhiti ōku tūpuna
I tupu ake au ki Whanganui
Kei Te Rakipaewhenua ahau e noho ana
Ko Larissa ahau, tena koutou katoa

As our Training and Digital Manager, Larissa provides professional training and development courses to take care of the people who take care of us. Grief can present in many forms so Larissa works hard to ensure there is a wide range of topics made available to health and care professionals such as anxiety, depression, supporting children and building resilience to name just a few. Her passion is to normalise the conversation of grief and get loud about the transformative support the Grief Centre offers.

Larissa is a self-proclaimed digital nerd.  When she's not out spending her days surrounded by whanau or chasing her toddler, she's building websites and running SQL queries. 

Michelle is our frontline employee. She has an extensive corporate background and is also a trained counsellor. She has the skills to engage with clients from all backgrounds and to gently and collaboratively get them engaged with the start of their healing journey.

Having finally won her own life-long battle with depression, she remembers all too well the many people who assisted her out of the darkness. These days, it is an honour for her to assist those who are currently engaged in their own journey, as they struggle to cope with and emerge from, depression. From her own personal experiences, she knows that many suffer in silence.

Michelle is a passionate outdoorsy lady. As a gardener she loves to nurture her many trees, shrubs, flowers, bird, and bees. She and her partner Matt are crazy about dogs. They also love to hike, socialise around the brazier, snorkel and scuba dive.

Michelle Oxenham - Office Administrator
Michelle Oxenham

Office Administrator

Funders & Sponsors

The community spirit that exists amongst our valuable funding partners and supporters provides the Grief Centre with a significant percentage of the resources we need to keep providing New Zealand and Australian communities with our vital services.

 

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