Stars of the hit television series The Casketeers, as seen on Netflix
Francis and Kaiora Tipene aren't your typical funeral directors. With their famous humour and big-hearted personalities, the TVNZ and Netflix reality TV stars are changing the way we think about death and grief.
Life as a Casketeer reveals how Francis and Kaiora grew up in families that had few possessions but were rich with love and tikanga, and how they came to work in their often misunderstood profession. It's also a book about the Maori world view and traditional funeral customs. The Tipenes make death feel less mysterious and life feel more precious.
But most of all, Life as a Casketeer is a love story – for whanau, for culture and for each other. It is full of joy and sorrow, tears and laughter.
Francis and Kaiora Tipene are the proprietors of Tipene Funerals, a New Zealand funeral business based in Onehunga and Henderson, Auckland. Both hail from Northland, New Zealand – Francis from Pawerenga, Kaiora from Kataia. The now married couple met at Maori Teacher's Training College before embarking on life devoted to their passion for helping people at times of great need.
In 2018 they starred in the first season of what the Spinoff called ‘the greatest local comedy of 2018’, The Casketeers. A third series of the show will run in 2020.
Francis is a graduate of the WelTec Funeral Directors course and started in the industry over 15 years ago, working as duty driver in Auckland. Kaiora is also a qualified funeral director.