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  • What does Ake Ake mean?
    Ake ake (ah-ke ah-ke) is one of New Zealand's native evergreens traditionally used by Māori for it's hard wood in carving objects. In Te Reo Māori, Ake ake means 'for ever and ever' or 'for ever more', and the word ake means to move upward or forward. In the eco printing technique the ake ake leaf yields the most detailed and beautiful of imprints in vibrant yellows, greens and sometimes with purple highlights. The colour itself is uplifting. It's one of my favourite plants to feature in my botanical work, reflecting our landscape in Aotearoa.
  • What is eco printing?
    Eco print is a technique used to transfer natural plant tannins and pigments permanently into fabrics. It can also be used on paper, wood and clay. It's also known as botanical contact printing, or plant printing. First step is in preparing the fabric to receive the dyes with a mordant (means 'to bite'). Plants are gathered and laid out on the mordanted fabric, then rolled up into a tight bundle. This 'hot bundle' is then steamed (sometimes boiled) to allow the infusion of dyes to take place. After cooling, the bundle is undone to reveal the prints inside. The fabric is cured for a few days before washing. Each shroud takes around 3-4 days for the dyeing process and up to 7 metres of fabric. You can see a version of eco print here.
  • Does a shroud have to be inside a coffin?
    Absolutely not. A shroud only funeral is both legal and possible in New Zealand. As long as the person is fully enveloped in the fabric, and this is secured with ties, then no further covering or container is necessary. Usually a board or similar is needed to carry the shrouded person. See the other FAQ on carrying a body.
  • If I only have a shroud, how will my body be carried?
    Excellent question! For a shroud only funeral it is imperative that there is some way of carrying the body. In New Zealand you have the options of purchasing a shrouding board that the person lays on top. Or make your own DIY board (good old Kiwi ingenuity), I can provide you with guidelines for this. Shrouding boards can be custom made to order from Ake Ake Shrouds. Choose from untreated pine or recycled macrocarpa wood. Size is customised to your needs. Add an optional oiled or waxed finish, rails or inlay embellishment as desired. Pricing starts from $250.00 and takes 2-3 weeks to make. Please contact me for enquiries. If your cemetery allows hand lowering with ropes, then a board may not be necessary. Please discuss local requirements with your funeral director, cemetery or crematoria staff.
  • I don't really know much about shrouding, can you help me?
    My experience is with palliative care and I am very used to talking death care with honesty and sensitivity. I am more than happy to guide you through choosing to use a shroud including how to shroud a person and many other things in relation to funeral planning. If you have a question or concern, or just a burning interest please contact me.
  • What sizes are the shrouds?
    At the moment, the product range is for suitable for adults. They are a generous sizing suitable for all shapes but a few are even larger, the sizes are stated on the product listing. Most will be suitable for a person up to 6 foot tall. In the future, smaller shrouds suitable for infants, and some for pets will become available to purchase online. In the meantime, it is always a privilege to be able to custom make to suit, just get in touch to discuss requirements and time frame.
  • Can I get a shroud made for myself or someone else?
    Yes, I offer a personalised shroud making service A shroud made to your requirements can hold greater significance for you than buying ready made. You may want a special size, shape, design or a certain colour palette, perhaps with particular plants placed on the fabrics or incorporating a special piece of heirloom fabric. We can talk about your specific wishes and then I will provide a quote and estimated time to delivery. This will be around 2-3 weeks on average but if needed urgently I will endevour to do this sooner. Please be aware, I am familiar with what prints or colours I can get out of many plants, but there will always be some that are experimental to me and therefore I can never guarantee the results. In fact, I encourage you to throw away expectations and embrace the serendipity of this process.
  • Do you only sell direct to the public?
    Yes. This is a small production business run by one artist who makes one-of-a-kind products. Nothing is, and never will be, mass produced and therefore it isn't possible to hold stock at a Funeral Director's premises. A funeral director cannot refuse to use a third party product you have bought independently and if they do, you are within your rights to find another director. I acknowledge in times of illness, or in grieving it's easier to have some one else take the task of purchasing a shroud. This could be family, a funeral director or death doula. Just point them to this website, tell them which shroud you would like and ask them to contact me directly to arrange details. You'll pay the online price. I will then post the shroud to them or you, depending on what is convenient. If you are comfortable with a 'buy before you die' approach then I encourage you to pre plan and pre purchase. Then the last minute stress isn't an issue.
  • Can I pay in instalments?
    Absolutely you can! If the total price is beyond your immediate budget, contact me to discuss how we can make this more accessible for you. At check out, there is an option to make manual payments which can be spread out over time depending on your situation. "Death care is a human right" Katerina Spade
  • Can I get a shroud for my pet?
    At some stage I will be adding shrouds for pets to the online range suitable for small pets such as birds, cats, dogs, bunnies etc. In the meantime I am happy to make something to order. Please contact to discuss.
  • How long will it take for the shroud to compost within the earth?
    If this is a natural burial where the shroud is within the top 4 feet of soil, then natural microbes and microorganisms will have the fabric composted relatively quickly. The time is dependent on the soil quality, temperature, moisture content and depth of grave. All natural fibres are made of organic carbon chains so release their energy back to the ecosystem becoming a reservoir for life.
  • What packaging do you use?
    Your shroud will arrive to you in a brown cardboard box, wrapped in tissue paper and tied with silk offcuts. You can use the box as the beginnings of your funeral kete, a repository to store all things related to your funeral planning and the silk to tie your hair! All packaging materials can be home composted, repurposed or recycled.
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