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Death Café

Death Café is a group-directed discussion about death. Participants, usually strangers, meet in cafes, lounges and sometimes cemeteries to discuss all manner of things death-related while eating cake, and drinking coffee. The purpose is to create greater death awareness and encourage people to make the most of their finite lives.

Death Cafe is not grief support. There is no advice, no therapy and no agenda. It sounds like a recipe for disaster but generally people come away feeling lighter and more optimistic.

Participants lead the conversation, and discuss whatever is on their minds, in the news or simply follow where their curiousity leads. People come for a variety of reasons, but generally they want to loosen up about death or connect with people who are open-minded about the subject.

Every Death Café is different, and over the years we’ve talked about so many things, these are just a few: fear of dying, fear of dying in pain, non-ordinary death experiences, reincarnation, loss and grief, organ transplants, suicide, compassionate communities, death in different cultures, living with a terminal illness, the burden of caring for an aging/ailing parent, or the loss of a pet. We also discuss current and global events: earthquakes, mass shootings, the pandemic, genocide, species extinction; current political reforms in abortion and euthanasia laws. Often we talk about philosophy, wondering what is the purpose of death, of life, of suffering. People share books they’ve read, and movies they’ve seen. Recently we have been talking about the ethical implications of emerging technologies to ‘cure death’.

I am in awe of how courageous people are, how willing we are to be honest and vulnerable even among strangers about one of the most difficult subjects – death.

No experience is necessary, but courage, an open mind and a sense of humour helps.


I am so glad I got up the courage to come along to that first meeting, everyone was so friendly, I learnt such a lot and being able to discuss death so openly has helped me greatly

- Margaret


Christchurch Death Café dates are posted as events on Meetup. Seats are limited and tend to book out very quickly. If you go on the waiting list you will often get a seat at the last minute due to cancellations. 

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