The following has been adapted from a speech given at the Official Opening of The Hibiscus Coast Chapel of Dil’s Funeral Services, 48 Wairoa Road, Stanmore Bay held on Wednesday 5 May 2021.
They say that good things take time, and the recent opening of our new Hibiscus Coast Chapel in Stanmore Bay has been a long time in the making. It was mid 2018 when we were first approached by members of the Hibiscus Coast Presbyterian Church Parish Council to see if Dil’s was interested in leasing St Andrew’s Church at 48 Waiora Road. The committee were exploring their options for how to best use the building following the amalgamation of their Hibiscus Coast Congregations to their Orewa Church.
When asked, we were immediately interested. We had been looking for a while for an opportunity to expand our services on the Coast. Over the years we have done many, many funerals for families up that way, and while many are happy to use our North Harbour Chapel in Albany, we had never been able to offer a truly local option. Finding the right location for a funeral home can be challenging. In addition to needing the right spaces, we have requirements about parking and zoning which we are required to meet, and these conditions that are not always easy to satisfy. So, when we were offered this space, it was a real blessing.
Over the next couple years, we worked through the many requirements placed on us by Council. When we started, I do not think anyone realised how long it would take to get Resource Consent and Building Consent through. Then, when you add COVID lockdowns into the mix, this project has had its fair share of challenges. One example is the fabulous light fitting in the chapel. It took months and months to arrive in the country because of shipping delays, and when it did arrive, it was the wrong one. But such is life, we adapt and move forward.
When you come into our new building, we hope you are impressed by what has been achieved following an extensive renovation. I remember taking a group through the building pre-reno and explaining what things would look like once finished. By the looks on the faces that day, I do not think many could see what we could see. But for those who do remember what things looked like before I hope you agree the place has been transformed.
The new Chapel seats 120 people and has extensive views out to Whangaparaoa Bay. We also offers a Reception Lounge, viewing and arrangement rooms and an office. The building is light, bright and airy and has been designed with a modern coastal vibe.
It is an honour to be invited to bring Dil’s to this location. From the very start of the process, we could sense the responsibility the church committee felt to ensure this building was given new life in a way that aligned with its traditional Kaupapa, as a place of faith and community. As we have worked on this project what has been clear is that many people feel a deep connection to this place and have been personally involved in its development over many years; from helping with construction, through to holding services and important life events and generally just caring about the place. So, we wish to acknowledge all who feel a connection, you are always welcome. As the new custodians of this building, we carry your special fondness for this place and promise to look after it.
So, what do we hope to achieve by being here on the Coast?
Ultimately, our business is about serving people and helping them through an experience that hopefully is transformative. American Funeral Director Thomas Lynch once said “A good funeral gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be. There’s no easy way to do this. So do it right: weep, laugh, watch, pray, love, live, give thanks and praise; comfort, mend, honour, and remember.”
Loss and grief are real and there are no easy answers to dealing with them. When someone we love dies the only way forward is through our grief and funerals help us to work through our feelings.
At Dil’s we use the word beautiful to describe funerals. A beautiful funeral captures the essence of the person that has died, in just the right way. It allows family and friends time and space to grieve, be supported, and to say goodbye in a meaningful way.
Beautiful funerals come in different shapes and sizes, there is no one right way to mourn and celebrate someone’s life and so our communities need places like this chapel to allow people say goodbye in just the right way.
Traditional or modern, simple or grand, large or small, public or private whatever you want to do we can make it happen here.
We hope in time to become an integral part of the local community, we believe this facility offers the best funeral location on the Coast and will allow those that choose us the very best experience.
So please tell your friends about us, and how wonderful the chapel is, and that we are here waiting to serve. We hope this will be a place where people can gather together, remember, celebrate, and feel supported.