Cromwell’s locally-owned and operated funeral home has opened its door to the community, at an open-day, a celebration and the official opening by Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.
The home is named for Kotuku, the native white heron, found only in the lower west coast of the South Island. It is known in as the guide to accompany the soul home, and the Maori mythology around the soul returning home was the basis of the beautiful words of Darren Rewi, who conducted the blessing of the new facility.
Covid brought owners Leigh-Anne Fox and Glennys Logan together. Glennys had established her business as a wedding celebrant, to become New Zealand’s most popular celebrant, but her business hit the Covid wall. Leigh-Anne meanwhile worked in the Central Otago and Southern Lakes ares as a funeral director, embalmer and celebrant, persevering through the difficult times of the level four lockdown, to be then made redundant.
These two women showed their resilience by taking on a new challenge.
“Circumstances changed for both of us, and we saw an opportunity,” says Leigh-Anne.
Glennys says that the vision is to encourage locals to pre-plan – have the conversations about death with their loved ones.
Cromwell people have shown their enthusiasm for having local people caring for them, and the women are focussed on providing the best, personalised care and support. They regard their premises as a sanctuary for people to honour their loved ones and be shown care and comfort.
Mayor Tim, in cutting the ribbon, says,
“This has a different, lighter feeling than any other funeral place I have experienced.”
He was grateful, after his brush with ill health, to be opening the facility, rather than being the focus of a funeral ceremony.
Glennys and Leigh-Anne welcome locals to visit the premises at 15 Chardonnay Street for a tour and a chat.