Big, Black and Handsome, you be the judge. On another note, born and raised in Whakatane, worked and studied all over New Zealand, as a tradey, farmer, social worker, educator and back to something I believe I have always had a passion for Embalming even better working back home, Whakatane.
Funeral Director / Embalmer
Dip. Embalmer (MNZEA).
Kō Tirotirowhitu te maunga Kō Kakaho te awa Kō Kutarere te marae Kō Te-Poho-o-Tamaterangi te whare tipuna Kō Ani-i-waho te wharekai Kō Upokorehe te hapū Ko Wiki rāua ko Mihi Mooney ōku mātua
I was born and raised in Whakatane, I began my journey in the funeral industry in the Hamilton region. I am a qualified embalmer, and I was approached by Gateway Funeral Services to see if my wife Memory and I would move back to Whakatane, I jumped at the chance to return to my birth place to help Whanau in their time of need. I enjoy spending time with my family.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU JOIN THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY?
I have always wanted to be part of the industry but found it really hard to enter because of my look. I was fortunate enough when a Māori lady opened a funeral home in Hamilton, and she gave me the opportunity to do what I believe I do well, caring for families particularly Māori.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I enjoy the variety of ways and methods of showing grieving families how Gateway Funerals in Whakatane can help to personalise funerals to the families request and introducing new ways for families to experience funerals with a difference.
WHAT IS A MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM YOUR INDUSTRY CAREER?
A memorable moment for me was being asked to move to Whakatane to further my skills and knowledge within a location I grew up in. This was monumental to me because seeing friends and families I grew up with and seeing their expressions when they knew someone working in this industry and making them feel comfortable by letting them know their loved ones are being loved, respected and treated professionally and culturally.
WHEN DID YOU QUALIFY?
I qualified in the NZ Diploma in Embalming in 2017 and have used and tried every method and resource we were given to understand and explore easier ways to make embalming efficient, effective and culturally appropriate for every loved one I have cared for. The course was a fantastic spring board for me to look into other areas of embalming, I am currently doing a Masters Degree in Indigenous Studies and looking to do my thesis on how we as Māori cared for and looked after our deceased, and the importance and significance of blood for Māori.
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