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Tree of Remembrance: Farmers stores raising funds for local hospice

Farmers stores across New Zealand are once again raising funds for local hospice services in the lead-up to Christmas.

Staff and customers alike are supporting the campaign aimed at keeping hospice care free of charge in every community across the country.

There are two ways customers can support Hospice Tairāwhiti here — by donating to the Tree of Remembrance or buying a limited-edition bauble available in-store and online.

The tree has been put up in the store at the Gladstone Road entrance.

Those who donate have the opportunity to write a special message for someone they will be thinking of over Christmas, whether it is a special someone they have lost or who cannot be with them over the festive season.

“Gisborne is such a small town that even if you do not know the person directly, you probably know somebody connected to them,” Hospice Tairāwhiti palliative care nurse Linda Hauraki says.

“It is about supporting and remembering (loved ones) at this time of the year . . . . so it's very poignant for a lot of people . . . it is really important to acknowledge them and that is the whole reason for the Farmers tree.”

Cards are available for people to write a message on, then put it on the tree.

The cards will be collected by the hospice after Christmas and a cremation ceremony will be held.

Families do not attend the ceremony but for some it is part of their journey towards closure.

Farmers staff member Karen Morris said the store was “really proud” to represent hospice.

“They are part of our community and to know that the stores are donating directly to the community is a huge thing.

“We have our baubles which are really popular. We have customers coming in every year, wanting to have them.

“And to know that the money is directly going to the community in Tairāwhiti is amazing.

“We have the Tree of Remembrance and all the staff are behind it. We encourage people to be part of what has been so successful for us.

“I think it is something positive that we do with the community and that's the brilliant thing.”

MESSAGES TO LOVED ONES: Hospice Tairāwhiti palliative care nurse Linda Hauraki with a bauble customers can buy at Farmers Gisborne store from which the proceeds go to Hospice Tairāwhiti. Customers who donate to the Tree of Remembrance, which has been put up in the store, can write a message to a loved one and place it on the tree. After Christmas the messages go back to Hospice Tairāwhiti and are cremated in a special ceremony. Store manager Sarah Stoevelaar is pictured with the message cards next to the tree. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell