Nelson's Death Cafe group dying for discussions

Barbara Greene, left, and Kristine Rose co-facilitators of Nelson Death Cafe.

Barbara Greene, left, and Kristine Rose co-facilitators of Nelson Death Cafe.

It's been a year since a group met in Nelson to discuss death and dying over coffee, and the conversation remains lively.

Last year two Nelson women joined a world-wide trend to bring people together at a monthly Death Cafe meeting to talk openly about the enduring taboo topic.

Death Cafe Nelson facilitators Kristine Rose and Barbara Greene said the group's flavour was about offering a safe place for young and old to discuss a range of life and death topics over coffee, tea and cake.

"One of the main ideas around Death Cafe is to help people make the most of their finite lives," Rose said.

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"It is a very reassuring feeling discussing it [death] with people and not feeling alone with this. [We're] meeting simply as people who are going to die, dare I say."

Greene said topics and feelings were widely explored at the meets but stressed the group was not a place to promote one idea over another, or to act as a bereavement support service. However, Death Cafe Nelson had information available to refer those in need onto other resources.

Greene said topics raised during the year included the loss of children, family and friends through accidents, suicide or illness. Arguments for and against voluntary euthanasia and the subject of what happens after death were also explored.  

"One of the main features of Death Cafe, as a social franchise, is being tolerant of views. People really honour and accept that and become curious and interested in the views of other people.

"I leave every single one feeling more alive and more appreciative of life. There's nothing morbid about it at all, even though we touch on some really deep things. I find it very uplifting and enlivening."

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Death Cafes have spread across Europe, North America and Australasia with 4267 groups set up in 46 countries since September 2011.

​If you are interested in finding out about Death Cafes in the Nelson region visit: or find the Death Cafe Nelson on Facebook.

 - Stuff


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