Chch man gives life to headstones

QR marker links headstone to online memorial

LEE SUCKLING
Last updated 10:23 26/02/2013
Craig White
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

REMEMBERING ME: Craig White decided to create a website that lets you access an online memorial site using a smart phone.

Gaynor White
MEMORY LIVES ON: Christchurch grandmother Gaynor White was murdered in 2010.

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Craig White tells Lee Suckling about RememberingMe, a dedicated online space for remembering loved ones.

Frustrated that his mother's memorial was just a few words etched in stone, Craig White took to the digital world for a solution.

When White's mother died under tragic circumstances in 2010, he became fearful that her memory would fade.

His mother, Gaynor White, 62, was beaten to death with a hammer at her Huntsbury Hill home, leading to Shaun Timothy Skilling, 23, being sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in jail.

"In order to preserve my memories I looked to websites offering online memorial tributes, but none offered a connection back to that lifeless, cold headstone that frustrated me so much," Christchurch-based White says.

"At that point I decided to develop my own website which utilised modern smart phone technology to enable interaction between the headstone and the online memorial.

"In this way when I visited my Mum's headstone I could also visit her memorial site to reminisce over old photos, read a story left by me or someone else, or just leave a message to say I was thinking about her."

RememberingMe.info launched as a site for people to remember loved ones, "without the barriers of distance and time pressures, as well as being a more private and sensitive environment than what social media sites offer", White says.

A memorial page can be set to allow any RememberingMe member to leave a tribute, story or photo. Pages are free for the first 21 days, then $29 a year or $79 for a lifetime memorial.

A Google map allows for the memorial page owner to record a headstone location, meaning this information will not be lost to future generations, White says.

On the headstone/plaque itself, there's a physical link to the digital world. A metal QR marker can be attached, which, when scanned by a smartphone, opens the associated memorial page on RememberingMe and brings to life an otherwise inanimate stone memorial, White explains.

RememberingMe is New Zealand's only website offering metal QR attachments and both a physical and virtual link of remembrance. However, competition exists, the website amemorytree.co.nz claims to list 97 per cent of New Zealand deaths and has a database of more than 210,000 pages of death information.

Each RememberingMe page, on the other hand, can contain up to 99 photos or videos.

White says next in line for RememberingMe will be the introduction of NFC (near field communication) tags, which exchange data by radio proximity.

* RemberingMe.info is offering to waive the $79 lifetime fee for Christchurch earthquake victims' families and friends.

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