Articles, Reviews & Interviews in the Media




Tackling Death & Transformation Through Art
by Will Harvie
Stuff - November 2020
Five artists grapple with grief, loss and death in an exhibition and sale that opens Tuesday in Christchurch. While that sounds final and depressing, all the artists seem to be on a journey of some sort. The best known is Tony Cribb,​ creator of the Tin Man​ character. Cribb had brain surgery because of cancer in 2014 and has been on a long recovery since.


New Media Updates1

Death Cafe documentary

by Austin Salt-Cowell
September 2020

This short documentary (18 minutes) explores the unconventional yet supportive role of a Death Cafe, where srangers meet to discuss all matters of life and death. We join the Christchurch Death Cafe and meet some of the participants who share their experiences and perspectives on the subject.


New Media Updates2

Lessons on life from death

by Susan Marshall
Sri Chimnoy Centre - May 2020

This week I had a most illuminating conversation with Melanie Mayell who hosts regular Death Cafe events in Christchurch.

Those of us who have not been able to make peace with the deaths that have taken place in our lives suffer a great deal. It seems that if we cannot come to terms with death, we will always fear life. As one goes with the other, we have to accept death and it’s lessons in order to live fully.

Through the Death Cafe, Melanie does not attempt to answer questions about death but to allow individuals to confront the issues surrounding it that cause disruption to the experience of life. The more I delved into the realities of death and the dying the more I discovered that it was not always a conversation of darkness and loss, but the moments where our lives become most precious and that what we value in the moments of death are the things that we truly value in life.

full article:


New Media Updates4

Love: the hardest word to say

by Becky Manawatu
The News - March 2020

Melanie Mayell had accepted that her father didnt express love, until a book revealed she was wrong. She is sitting on the couch at her Okari Lake cottage, with a wooden box in her lap, and starts to tell the story of a book which changed her — and her father’s — lives.

Melanie is a big reader, that’s evident by the number of books in the cottage. About 15 years ago she came across a particularly special book: The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. The book explains people’s unique ways of expressing love.

full article


New Media Updates3

How to live with death

by Philip Matthews
Stuff, The Press, The Dominion Post - October 2018

Are you death-wise or death-literate? Philip Matthews hears about coffee, cake and mortal coils from death cafe host Melanie Mayell.

Death is the undiscovered country, Hamlet said. The great beyond. What is there to ask? Christchurch artist Melanie Mayell has six questions for us to consider. They act as conversation starters if talk stalls at one of her death cafes.

Here they are: What is your experience with death? What scares you about death? Should people be able to choose to end their lives? What would you like your funeral to be like? Do you believe in life after death, ghosts, reincarnation? How do you feel about ageing?

These are 3am questions exposed to the light of day. And of course there are no right or wrong answers, just as there is no right or wrong way to respond to death.

full article:



Latitude Magazine

December/January 2015

Like all Cantabrians, the events of 22 February 2011 left Melanie with much to be thankful for. She recalls being huddled under a table in the old post office building in Cathedral Square during the earthquake, visibility impaired in the room by thick dust as the Cathedral crashed to the ground outside. Especially poignant for Melanie following that day, were the random acts of kindness of strangers. "It was like a new form of currency in Christchurch. Somehow with our walls being taken away, our inhibitions went too. Even the smallest of gestures could really get you through your day." > Read more...




On MAS - Quarterly Magazine for Medical Assurance Society

Autumn 2013




Westpac Trust - Love Red - Quarterly Magazine

Summer 2012




Christchurch Press - Good Living Supplement

27 September 2012


to read full article....



CTV - Canterbury Television Breakfast Interview

August 2012