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Board and patrons

Sumita Paul

Trustee and Board Chair

Sumita brings a high level of experience and professionalism in managing family trusts, charitable trusts and investment portfolios through her 23 year career in the fiduciary and investment industry. In her role as Client Manager at Perpetual Guardian for over 12 years, she was responsible for advising clients on drafting wills, enduring power of attorney and setting up trusts. Administering a will as an executor and dealing with individuals & families coping with the loss of loved ones, was a core activity of the role. During that time she realised the importance of having the skills to deal with people who were grieving and the experience also highlighted the additional support people needed at this time.


In 2021, Sumita founded Athena Wealth NZ, an independent financial planning practice. She is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).


Maureen Frayling

Founder and Trustee

Maureen worked at the North Shore Hospice in New Zealand as a nurse, counsellor and teacher in the area of loss and grief for 15 years. She was involved for many years with the National Association for Loss and Grief (NALAG). She initiated the development of the Grief Centre with support from North Shore Hospice and Dil's Funeral Services. Maureen moved north to Whangarei in 2009. She is currently a lecturer and coordinator on the counselling major at NorthTec in Whangarei.

Stephen Dil

Founder and Trustee

Stephen is Managing Director of Dil's Funeral Services. Through his daily work he has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing those affected by loss and grief. Stephen holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from The Pennsylvania State University, a Bachelor of Business Studies (Management) from Massey University and the National Diploma in Funeral Services.


Dr. Margaret Agee



Margaret is an experienced counsellor, supervisor and counsellor educator who is a Life Member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and is now supervising, consulting and guest lecturing in private practice. She is passionate about the need for public and professional education about contemporary understandings of loss and grief, and for the provision of effective support for those experiencing grief in all its forms. Her involvement in the field includes establishing the first support group in Auckland for those bereaved by suicide, and research into counsellors’ experiences of client suicide; education in the provision of support following crises in schools; and fostering effective cross-cultural support in loss and grief.

For 20 years she was actively involved in the National Association for Loss and Grief and she is a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG). She is a founding member of the Board of the Grief Centre.


Monica Briggs


Monica has held leadership roles in the health and not for profit sector for the last 25 years in Aotearoa, having moved here from the UK. She has previously served on the board of the National AIDs Foundation and the Public health Association. She is currently CEO for the New Zealand Child Cancer Foundation, having held Head of Centre role for the Centre of Social Impact prior to that and CEO of the YWCA Auckland. She is drawn to causes which support and empower individuals and communities. She is also a member of AUT Business schools Industry Advisory Board in Auckland.

Judy Bailey


Judy Bailey is a writer and former broadcaster living in Auckland, New Zealand.  She fronted primetime news for twenty six years, becoming one the most recognised faces in New Zealand. On leaving TVNZ, she fronted Maori Television’s ANZAC Day programme for nine years and has since been involved in a number of documentaries and television series.

As well as being a Patron of the Grief Centre for many years, she was a founding trustee and is Patron of Brainwave Trust Aotearoa, an organisation that brings the latest research in neuroscience to those who work with children and young families, ensuring that each child gets the best possible start in life.

She is also an active patron of a number of organisations including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The National Collective of Women’s Refuges, Friends of Women’s Refuge, Hospice North Shore, and the Skylight Trust.

In 2010 she was created an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to broadcasting and the community. She is married to producer and director Chris Bailey, they have three children and seven grandchildren.

Judy Bailey 2023 Website.jpg

Robert A. Neimeyer


Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. is a professor in the Psychotherapy Research Area of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has conducted extensive research on the topics of death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention.Neimeyer has published 21 books, including Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss, Constructivist Psychotherapy, and Rainbow in the Stone, a book of contemporary poetry. The author of over 300 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops.


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