Our People


Simon Manning QSO, JP

Funeral Director

Simon

Simon spent his early years in Belmont, Petone and Lower Hutt, being educated at Belmont Primary, Wilford and Waterloo Schools prior to Hutt Intermediate and then Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College.

Simon's grandparents died when he was at College and from that point, he knew that the funeral profession was where he wanted to be. Simon managed to obtain a part-time position with a company in Wellington and upon leaving school started permanently with that company.

After 9 years with that company, in 1989, he decided to open Harbour City Funeral Home. Simon is a qualified embalmer and funeral director and has taken on roles to encourage and train people who like himself choose the funeral directing role to serve others.

Within the funeral world, Simon leads the New Zealand Funeral Directors response in disaster situations and in 2022 in the Platinum Jubilee Queens Birthday celebrations he was awarded a QSO to recognise this work. This specialist work has seen Simon deployed in Nauru, Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, and The Netherlands as well as being responsible for managing the New Zealand funeral professions response to the Christchurch Earthquake, the Mosque Shootings, the Whakaari White Island Eruption. In 2020 he was recognised by NZ Defence for his work in the repatriation of 35 service personnel from 6 different countries. This remains one of Simon’s proudest achievements.

Simon is a keen Rotarian and has taken on various roles within Rotary including the role of District Governor for the Lower North Island. Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self, fits well with who Simon is.

Simon mixes his time between Wellington and the Kāpiti Coast, anyone who knows Simon, knows he loves his role as a funeral director. Making a difference and helping others is what it is all about for Simon.

email: simon@funeral-link.co.nz


Ruth Lacombe-Post

Funeral Director

Ruth Website2

After a personal experience in her late teens, Ruth aspired to help others in the same way a funeral director supported her. Knowing she needed to gain life experience first, the following years proved invaluable through having to run a home from a young age, a 2 ½ year move to the Himalayan Mountains in India and loads of travel to foreign places in between.

Ruth returned from overseas to care for a family member. She later joined Harbour City as a Funeral Director in early 2014 equipped with a cultured balance of life skills, compassion, a zest to learn and the want to serve her community. She enjoys a good laugh, values people from every walk of life and has a humanistic approach as problems are opportunities to learn.

Ruth is happily married and outside of work loves tending to her ‘as close to India’ slice of life in Ōhau. 

email: ruth@funeral-link.co.nz


Eva Rippon

Funeral Director

Eva Web2

Eva grew up on Auckland’s West Coast with Muriwai Beach in her backyard. She comes from a long line of nurses, so from a young age she knew she wanted to work in a role which saw her caring for people in some capacity.

Eva completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and English at Massey University and it was her desire to continue learning and helping others that got her into the funeral industry in 2014.

In 2019 Eva moved to Pōneke Wellington to work at Harbour City Funeral Home and she has been with us ever since. 

She is currently completing her diploma in Funeral Directing with Te Pūkenga/NZ Institute of Skills and Technology.

Eva spends her spare time hiking, paddling for Pōneke Watersports Dragon Boat Club, reading, cooking, sewing and learning to skateboard.

She is also the Administrator/Volunteer Coordinator for Bellyful Wellington South; a charity which nourishes and connects communities by cooking and delivering free meals to whānau with babies or young children, who need support.

email: eva@funeral-link.co.nz


Ettiene du Plessis

Funeral Director

ettiene web

Ettiene was born and raised in South Africa and has been actively involved in the funeral industry since 2008.  He sees this as his passion and not just another job or career.  

In his career as a Funeral Director he has been part of some high-profile arrangements in South Africa and neighboring countries, which included the legendary rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen who is an iconic name in International rugby.

Ettiene, his wife and 3 children have decided that New Zealand is the way forward, to further his career as a funeral director and passion. He is aware of the emotional demands on families and the importance of getting everything right at such a difficult time, with a professional yet empathetic approach.

Ettiene enjoys Motorsport, Golf and watching Rugby. Family time is very important to him. “Where passion meets excellence”

email: ettiene@funeral-link.co.nz


Blair Malcolmson

Funeral Director

Blair

Growing up in Upper Hutt, I had a wonderful childhood filled with fun and adventure. I was actively involved in various sports and enjoyed playing musical instruments, both in orchestras and on the electric guitar as I got older.

In my mid-teens, I got my first after-school part-time job at a local grocery store, where I loved interacting with new people. Throughout the years, I often contemplated what I wanted to do with my life. While working in the service and grocery industries for several decades, I always had a passion for becoming a funeral director. I felt that this profession would allow me to utilise all of my skills and make a meaningful impact on others' lives. I am grateful for the opportunity that has now presented itself, and I am eagerly looking forward to providing assistance to those in the community who are in need of creating a meaningful farewell.

email: blair@funeral-link.co.nz


 

Katie Sampson

Embalmer

Katie web2

Katie was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and moved to New Zealand with her parents and younger brother in 2008. She grew up in Paraparaumu, graduating from Paraparaumu College. She moved to Wellington after being given the opportunity to become a trainee embalmer for Harbour City.

Katie has always had an interest in the funeral industry but gained most of her motivation and interest after the difficult loss of her grandfather in America in 2011. She has always held deep sympathy for families who lose loved ones and is passionate about helping others.

In 2019 Katie obtained a qualification in Level 4 Study and Career Prep for Funeral/Social services from Weltec, giving her knowledge and understanding of the funeral industry, different cultures/beliefs, along with human development and grief theories.

Before entering the funeral industry, Katie had worked in hospitality for 3 and a half years as front of house. She has worked as a waitress, barista and bartender in Wellington and Waikanae.

In her free time, Katie enjoys doing art, including but not limited to: oil painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and digital art. She also enjoys nature walks, spending time with animals, and her friends. Even though she is not a bartender anymore, she still enjoys making cocktails in her home bar, and cooking/baking.


 

Geoff Botherway

Funeral Director 

GEOFF

Geoff joined the funeral industry in Hamilton at the completion of high school as a trainee embalmer and completed his qualification in embalming in Wellington in 2002. Geoff loved his time in Wellington so much that he made the move and joined our company in 2003. He completed his funeral directing qualification the following year.

Geoff served on the Executive Committee of the New Zealand Embalmers Association for many years, serving as the President for two terms.

Geoff enjoys the variety the funeral industry provides and loves walking the journey through a personalised, meaningful funeral with families, whatever form that might take. He has a passion for the ever-changing technology in the industry and enjoys helping the local community through education, he’s always happy to share his knowledge.

Geoff’s interests include all sports (especially rugby and league), exercise, travel, music & podcasts, but most of his spare time is spent with his partner and three daughters. On a Saturday you will find him at his beloved Poneke Football (Rugby) Club where is currently volunteering as a Board Member.

email: geoff@funeral-link.co.nz


Anthea Walker

Funeral Director

Anthea web2

Anthea attended Kāpiti College, leaving to work in banking, where over many years, she worked her way up through the various roles, from a teller position to ultimately becoming Branch Manager.  

The death of Anthea's father in 2017 prompted her to reevaluate her life and she decided to pursue a long-held interest in the funeral industry.  She has worked as a funeral director since and achieved the Certificate in funeral directing in 2019. Anthea feels incredibly privileged to be able to help and support people through the days following the death of a loved one.   

In her spare time, Anthea enjoys spending time with her husband, Glen, her two daughters, and two granddaughters.  

She is also an avid reader and traveller; when not travelling, she researches and plans her next adventure. 

email: anthea@funeral-link.co.nz


 

Rob Wilkinson

Funeral Director 

Rob

Rob brings a diverse background to his new role in the funeral industry. He has successfully navigated roles in hospitality ownership with his restaurant Capitol and project management, showcasing his versatile skill set and leadership abilities. In his previous ventures, he demonstrated a strong commitment to customer satisfaction and project excellence.

Rob is a dedicated family man whose enthusiasm for life is extended to the great outdoors. He’s often found unwinding with his 2 boys mountain biking the awesome trail network in Wellington.

His new path in the funeral industry feels a positive fit where he brings his solid management expertise and compassionate approach to help families during their most challenging times. His transition into this field reflects his deep empathy and desire to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. With his caring nature and extensive experience, Rob continues to positively impact those around him, proving that his dedication to both family and community comes front and center.

email: rob@funeral-link.co.nz


Sheryl Rodda

Account Manager

sherylrodda

Sheryl has held an Accounts and Administration role with the company since October 2004.

She really cares about being able to help families wherever she can as they prepare for a funeral.  After the funeral, Sheryl is always happy to help our client family’s deal with banks, lawyers and agencies like WINZ and ACC for funeral grants when families are not able to, or the process just seems too difficult.


Emma Dentice

Design

EMMA

Emma graduated from Massey University in 2010 with an Honours degree in Visual Communication Design, and also gained membership into the International Society of Typographic Designers. Membership is awarded to practicing designers who demonstrate, through the quality of their work, their commitment to achieving the highest possible standard of visual communication.

Emma is very passionate about her design work, with technical strengths in typography and graphic design. “I strive to achieve consistently high level results that meet requirements to the best of my ability”. 


Aljay Faalelei

Design

Aljay Hcfh

Aljay graduated from Yoobee Colleges in 2021 with a level 6 diploma in Digital Media and Design. He is quite flexible in different areas of design but is particularly strong with Māori/Pasifika concepts.

Aljay was born and raised in Wellington and grew up in Porirua. He has always considered himself a creative, with a strong mind for art and design. His upbringing played a large role in his desire to pursue design as a career. Both his father and uncle were well versed in Pasifika styled art which is how he developed his creative passion.

He is driven to helping his community and has a passion for designing with people at the centre. His primary focus is visual communications as he enjoys working with complex ideas and concepts.


Jay Livick

Embalmer

Jay

Jay grew up in Kilbirnie, went to school at Evans Bay Intermediate and then Wellington College. So, feels very much at home here at Harbour City Funeral Home.

He thankfully doesn’t have a personal relationship with death, however, after seeing how much care is put into the whole procedure, he fell in love with it.

In his spare time, he loves to do a bit of Gaming, Reading, and Spending time with his partner or with his mum and the dog. Another interest of his is cars, he can just about tell you what type of car will drive around the corner based on the engine noise alone!

He’s loving his position as Embalmer and is doing his best to soak up as much information as he can so that he can provide the same amazing care that our other employees give.


Anna Storken

Embalmer

Anna web

Anna, a Belgian native, moved to New Zealand in 2019 to live with her Kiwi partner. She first worked as a rest home caregiver and later as a support worker for people with disabilities (caring for others being a common theme and value).

Next to her work, Anna had also developed a curiosity for end-of-life and grief-related subjects dating back to her study of philosophy and psychology back home. This led to part-time work as a lifter at a local funeral home, which she found an intriguing and rewarding experience.

Her introduction to the funeral industry, combined with her previous experience of providing care to individuals and families in need, led Anna to joining Harbour City as a trainee embalmer in September 2022. 

In her free time, Anna enjoys a good book (not always death-related), crocheting, and going for walks in the beautiful city she now calls home. Occasionally, you may also find her singing and playing the guitar.


 

 

 

Danny Langstraat

Funeral Director 

danny web2

Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Danny arrived in the Hutt Valley in 1983. He attended Hutt Intermediate and finished his schooling at Hutt Valley High School in 1992.

In February 1993 Danny started with Harbour City Funeral Home, Kilbirnie on a three month trial period and decided to stay on. Danny completed the Embalming course in 1995, achieving the top theory and top overall student for that year. In 1997, he became fully qualified by completing the Funeral Directors Course and attaining the Diploma in Funeral Services.

Since starting in 1993, Danny has had numerous roles within the company, periodically moving to and from other branches to fulfil those roles.

Danny currently resides in Lower Hutt with his wife (Janelle) and their young daughters Petra, Skylah, April and Melody.

email: danny@funeral-link.co.nz


Barry Gee

Funeral Director

barry web2

Barry was born in the Hutt Valley and educated at Stokes Valley School, Taita Intermediate and Heretaunga College. He joined his father in the family funeral business in 1978. Barry qualified as an embalmer and funeral director, attaining the New Zealand Certificate in Funeral Service, then went on to pass his British exams, being admitted to the British Institute of Embalmers in 1985. Barry remained in the family business for 23 years until it was sold to an overseas corporation. After a period away from funeral directing, Barry returned to the industry in 2014, as his passion for this profession had never left him. With over 30 years experience as a funeral director, Barry loves the interaction with client families and the assistance he is able to offer them through difficult times.

Barry, and his wife, Lynn, have four children and 3 beautiful granddaughters, whom they love spending time with. In his spare time Barry loves cooking, gardening, travel and his beloved Buick Roadmaster.

email: barry@funeral-link.co.nz


Michelle Adam

Funeral Director

Michelle web

I grew up in the Hawkes Bay and moved to Wellington just over 30 years ago.

I had an interesting career journey starting as an apprentice hairdresser when I left school. I continued hairdressing for 18 years, 7 of which I had my own salon.

As my young family became teens (I have 2 daughters and a son), I gave up the long hours and retrained as a florist.

When they all flew the nest, I found my way into the funeral care industry and knew straight away this was where I wanted to be.

When my sister-in-law passed away, I cared for her and the family and I knew Funeral Directing was for me.

I live on the sunny Kapiti Coast and spend as much time at the beach as I can. I love fishing and snorkeling and walking along the beautiful coastline.

My other hobbies include gardening and home improvements. I’ve always got a project (or two!) on the go.

I’m looking forward to my time at Harbour City and know I’ve made a great move.

email: michelle@funeral-link.co.nz


Frank Milne

Crematorium Operator and Funeral Home Assistant

Frank

Frank joined the funeral industry in Wellington for the first time in 2007 from having worked in pastoral work for 15 years and supporting people in the community. The industry was a natural fit for him.

He moved to Wellington after having spent time in these roles in various locations around the country including Northland, Otago, Wellington, Gisborne, and Rotorua.

Since then, Frank has had a couple of different roles within the industry, being a Funeral Director from 2007 - 2010. He then took on the role of casket trimmer and car valet part-time, while working as a mental health support worker. He now is working with the funeral home as the Crematorium Operator and Funeral Home Assistant.

Frank enjoys time with his sons and grandson; tinkering around the house, doing odd jobs (he’s quite the handyman), watching movies, going fishing, exercising and biking. 

Frank has a couple of Bichon Frieze dogs whom he loves dearly, he takes immense pride in their grooming, so much so that he now has a side hustle of grooming dogs for friends’ and the wider eastern suburbs community.


Sheryl Wright

Funeral Director

SHERYL

Sheryl Wright (nee Wooller)

Was born in Wellington and educated at Kilbirnie School and Wellington East Girl’s College.

Sheryl has been on the fringe of the funeral industry for 51 years as her husband was previously a funeral director, they have two adult children, seven grand-children and four great grand-children.

In August of 1994 she joined Harbour City Funeral Home to assist in the administration side of the company, after several months she was invited to add to her role the challenge of becoming a funeral director.

Over the past 28 years, Sheryl has seen the company grow, not only in professionally trained staff but also in the changes in facilities, client choices, and the bereavement support we offer to our clients.

Working throughout the different branches enables Sheryl to assist clients with on going support and assistance, which she enjoys.

Having the life experiences first-hand of being a friend, wife, mother, nana, and also having experienced first-hand the loss of those closest to her, she has a real empathy to those who she comes into contact with.

Sheryl’s personal time is spent with her family, as they conveniently live in the Wellington region. 


Kima Pedro

Funeral Home Assistant

Kima

Kima was born in Lower Hutt and attended Otonga Primary School in Maungaraki where many of his family still reside.  He attended Hutt Valley High School, as did a number of his cousins and siblings, ending his time there in 1991.

Brought up in a deeply religious Pacifica household, he developed a reverence for loved ones that had passed, an empathy for those they leave behind and for the people that step up to offer support in those moments.  After a combined 20 years in predominantly sales roles within IT wholesale distribution, his interest in the funeral industry landed him in a brief trainee role at a funeral home in 2020 which paved the way for a trainee embalmer position with Harbour City Funeral Home. 

From their home in Porirua East, Kima along with his wife of 23 years Eunice, their two adult sons and teenage daughter enjoy spending time together with their extended Tokelau and Samoa families, often over hearty meals, music and lots of laughter.


Gemma Gee

Embalmer

Gemma

Gemma was born in the Hutt Valley and attended Totara Park School, St. Joseph’s School for her intermediate years and then onto Upper Hutt College. Gemma had always had an interest in the funeral profession due to her strong family connection – Her great-grandfather, grandfather and father were all funeral directors before her and this ignited her passion. After studying and attaining her NZ Certificate in Sports Science and NZ Diploma in Legal Executive Studies and a stint as a professional squash coach in Guatemala, in 2017, Gemma decided the time was right to join the funeral profession as an embalmer. This was certainly all that she had hoped for and takes pride in being able to give the bereaved the opportunity of spending time and saying their farewells to their loved ones.

When Gemma is not embalming she can be found walking the many beautiful bushwalks of the area with her partner Luke and two beautiful daughters, Kora and Quinn. Or teaching a pilates class, coaching or playing squash, or putting the finishing touches to her new home.


 

 

 

Harbour City Funeral Homes