Mary web

Mary Death

My name is Mary Death.

I wish to introduce myself to you and hope that I can be of assistance in helping you to prepare for the funeral service for your loved one.

Following twenty-five years as a Palliative Care Nurse,  with the last 6 years of that role as the Director of Nursing at Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt, I spent time thinking of how I could extend the skills I have of compassion, listening, storytelling and the incredible gifts I had been given by patients and their families by continuing to be of help in my community when I retired from Nursing.

As a funeral celebrant I feel privileged to assist in providing a  personal, unique ceremony working with those who are grieving to ensure that the person who has died is honored in a respectful, dignified way.

Following a service recently an attendee said “ What a fantastic service. You had obviously known Marjorie for a long time.” When I explained I had never met Marjorie but had met with her daughters to hear of her life she replied “ Wow, I thought you were a lifelong family friend that they had asked to do the service”.

I have conducted a funeral for over 300 people at Old St Paul’s in Wellington and an intimate gathering of 30 where the family requested the entire service took just 30 minutes.

It has also been my honour to facilitate services at the graveside, memorial services, and several services  for children.

Each one has been as individualised and special as the person the family were celebrating.

We will meet, as many times as needed, to create a service, ceremony or ritual that celebrates the life of your loved one.

With the guidance of the family and friends we will combine precious memories with music, photos, readings and  stories, in a way that is meaningful for them,be it a simple ceremony or a large gathering which personally reflects their wishes, and incorporates the wishes of the person who has died.


Lionel web

Lionel Nunns

Lionel is an experienced celebrant, having conducted funerals over the past 30 years, initially in Dunedin till he and his wife moved to Wellington in 2006.  He grew up in Gisborne, the place where he entered his first career – civil engineering.  From that profession he entered into the world of industrial chaplaincy – meeting and supporting people in the own work-a-day world.

Now as a retired ordained Presbyterian minister Lionel is well qualified to help families plan a service for their loved one; this he will do in a pastoral way .  For him, that service should both reflect the person who has died and be the occasion that best suits the grieving family.  This may mean a religious service or it may not.

For Lionel, words and symbols are important, and whatever the style of the service all should be carried out with dignity and respect to a high professional standard.  With that, the service should ‘ring true’ for those who attend who know the deceased well.

Graham Small

Graham Small

Graham has worked as a celebrant throughout the Wellington region since 1993. He has considerable experience (both personal and vocational) in coping with grief. Before his 30th birthday he suffered four significant bereavements. As a former minister, visiting hospital and prison chaplain, and bereavement care co-ordinator with the Te Omanga Hospice he was in frequent support of grieving people.

Graham has completed a certified course Death and Bereavement in Contemporary Society and contributed to an international conference (on the same theme) in London, while studying at the prototype of all hospices - St Christopher's.

For two years in the early 1990's Graham was unable to work due to severe ill health. As a result of this difficult time, together with his previous experiences, he can identify with the frustration of helplessness, and the need of understanding support.

Graham is married to Margaret, a former hospice nurse and trained counsellor. They live in Upper Hutt, with two sons and their families living nearby, they are kept engaged and active!


Brian Ross

Brian Ross

Brian has worked within funeral service since 1999, the past 13 years as a funeral celebrant. With a background in emergency and funeral service Brian’s working career has involved caring for families within the diverse social and cultural communities we are part of today.

In today’s modern world, many people are developing their own philosophies on life and religion and Brian believes funeral service is a time for families to each express those beliefs without traditional restraints.

Brian strives to offer individual funeral ceremonies centred on the value of family and friendship. Supporting families to create a ceremony that is personal, meaningful, positive and uplifting, and certainly far from solemn or sad.

Brian lives in Lower Hutt with his wife Michelle and their three young children.


Guardian Funeral Homes