DIG below the surface of the quirky Coffin Club name and what you will find is a group of north island New Zealanders that are destigmatising death.
The clubs are staffed by seniors who build coffins which can then be personalised with anything you like - TARDIS, go cart, chooks, Elvis tribute and more.
"People who want to, can personalise their own going away by ordering a coffin and having it made to their specifications, and then decorating it in a way that it depicts really what their life has been around or about," club founder Katie Williams said.
That's the simple explanation of what they are about. But, Katie said the clubs also promote a lot more - laughter and love, creativity, socialisation personal and family connections, and usefulness.
Katie, 78, came up with the idea about seven years ago. She was attending a U3A meeting. "In one of the meetings they were saying they wanted a bit more diversity within the groups, and did anyone have a good idea," Katie said.
"Why, oh why I stood up and said I wanted to make my own coffin, I will never know.
"Dead silence followed until after the meeting when there was a queue of people to see me. They liked the idea of being in control of their own departure; doing something that meant it was them rather than just a mahogany box."
She had no idea where to start. "But then I had to put my money where my mouth was and gather little old men who could do the carpentry bits and little old ladies like myself who could decorate and run it. We started off in my carport and very soon it grew like topsy," Katie said.
Each club's voluntary members gather together about once a week to use their skills and creativity "in a positive way".
"We have lots of 'darling' men who are ex-carpenters, joiners, builders, cabinetmakers," Katie said. "They make the coffins.
"Until recently we had the opportunity of having all our people being able to help make the coffins, but we've had new safety legislation.
"When we look back it was a bit hazardous having gentle, sometimes disabled, fragile little 'flowers' tripping among the wires and saws. They have been banned, but they can watch their coffin being made, from a distance. All their participation now in the coffin making is the decoration."
Apart from the coffin building, a very important part of the group coming together is the social experience for many of them who live by themselves. They greet each other with recognition and the welcome personal touch of a hug. "We care about each other," Katie said.
"It's also an opportunity for them to talk to their family about this. So, so many families, the younger ones don't talk about it. As far as they are concerned, nothing is ever going to happen to their mum or dad, or grandma or grandpa. And, that's not right. It's not correct and it can never be correct. So, we have had quite a lot of family involvement.
"For example, we had quite a tragic death in Rotorua. We had a coffin that was ready to decorate and 20 of the family members came in and we just left them to it. We supplied anything they wanted. They painted, they lined, they cried and laughed."
A basic coffin with six handles and lined with legally required plastic, costs NZD300.
"We use rubbish wood or MDF which is compressed sawdust so that we aren't chopping down trees to do it," Katie said. "It burns readily and is very suitable for burial as well.
"We are trying to do the right thing, although it's not quite eco-friendly. It's cheap and cheerful." If someone wants a completely eco-friendly coffin, they have to pay extra for that choice.
There is little money made by the not-for-profit clubs, but what is left over, a portion is donated to the local hospice, and some is used for the gifts of John Doe coffins and beautifully decorated baby coffins for premature babies.
The local funeral service operators have come to terms with the competition. It wasn't easy to start, but Katie said they now come to her, from time to time, to buy a coffin.
"Now I can ring them and source anything I want without them getting upset. We are nearly kissing-cousins, may I say," Katie said with a chuckle.
In New Zealand there are about 15 or 20 clubs either operating or still being formed, and in Australia there are 21 contacts with many of them wanting to set up a club. "Australia has seen the light as well," Katie said.
The Rotorua group have moved into a large workshop loaned to them the construction company Lockwood. As it's already full of coffins Katie says if a person orders a coffin, it's their responsibility to take them home.
"Many of them use them as bookcases, coffee tables, even beds," she said.
"There were two coffins made, put in the lounge and standing on their ends, in the middle was the big audio and in the bottom were speakers and in the top were wine racks.
"You will never see death and dying in a more beautiful way."