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The Timaru Herald - 15th June 2013

Giving information and comfort - Emma Bailey story

Sue Skeet created the online obituary database which records 98 per cent of deaths in New Zealand. She tells business reporter Emma Bailey about the website which attracts 110,000 visitors a month.

How and when did A Memory Tree come about? Read story here

Media Release – 6th August 2012

Online Death Notice and Remembrance Site Celebrates dramatic growth with 200,000th page

While acknowledging the loss of someone near and dear is usually a sad experience, remembering them can have a very pleasant side with long term benefits for many including extended family and friends.

A Memory Tree ( gifts its 200,000th remembrance page this week and managing director, Sue Skeet, says the number of messages and memories left online has increased signicantly since the site launched in 2009.

“Over 85,000 visitors are now viewing just under half a million pages every month and we have seen a significant increase in page usage with tens of thousands of messages left online,” says Ms Skeet.

Eighty percent of the pages the site gifts are used for message and memory sharing, and also to light virtual candles and refresh flowers to remember a loved one.

The site, which records all death notices published in New Zealand daily newspapers and gives their visitors instant online links to death notices and other death notice services, was unique when launched.

“People want to read the death notices and our summary service is extremely popular. It allows visitors to access historical published information that would ordinarily be difficult to find. Being able to establish the death of a person and even reunite with old friends and family has been an unexpected bonus for many people,” added Ms Skeet.

Launched in January 2009, and with complete records dating back to January 2006, records death notices in over 7,500 newspaper each year which, she says, represents over 98% of all deaths in New Zealand.

“Having this kind of access to death information is very important for a wide group of people whether it be for personal reasons, genealogy tracking or even for the legal profession and any businesses concerned with the wellbeing of their clients. It has been important for us to be able to consistently provide this service in real-time,” says Ms Skeet.

The company has gone on to develop software called NoticeMATCH which enables an organisation to have death notices matched to their client databases as often as the require. According to Ms Skeet, companies appreciate the service from two perspectives – it notonly saves them time and money but also helps them avoid potential embarrassment.

“There really is no excuse to miss a client death, but sadly it does happen and can cause great upset to the surviving family members. Marketers keen to expand their client databases need to have good systems in place to handle the death of a client and remove them from their direct marketting campaign lists immediately,” says Ms Skeet.

“Previously there hasn't been a quick or foolproof way to do this, but NoticeMATCH gives accurate up to the minute matchs, with most of the death notice records processed within 12 hours of being published in print media,” she concluded.


For further information visit or or emal

Media Release – 15th June 2010

Gift Giver Creates 100,000th Page

This week the 100,000th online Remembrance Page was created on the uniquely New Zealand website What makes this special is that all pages created, were done so for free and gifted to the friends and families of the deceased by a Christchurch woman following her own loss.
Site creator and managing director, Sue Skeet, says that giving is the essence of site and to be able to gift its 100,000th page for others to record their memories, messages and condolences is a significant milestone not only for her personally but also the wider community.
“It’s really important for us to provide a place where it costs nothing to leave a message of support or share a fond memory and the site has been developed to ensure access for all is possible.”
“At any time we have over 2,000 pages active with hundreds of messages and virtual flowers being left on them every day.”
Death may be an uncomfortable subject for many but Sue says providing an online service seems to be helping a huge number of people.
Since launching last January, the site achieves up to 30,000 visitors each month from over 80 countries and it offers the most comprehensive list of deaths in the country, drawing together death information published in over 20 newspapers. Over 75% of their pages have activity on them.
“It’s a very humbling experience to be able to provide the forum for so many people to use to remember, celebrate and share their memories,” Sue added.
As well as the bereaved, Sue says genealogists and lawyers are finding the site useful to locate people, in particular lawyers for managing their Will records. Due to demand, A Memory Tree has developed a death notification service to help certain business groups such as the legal, accounting and insurance industries indentify their clients.
“Responsible businesses are fast accepting that timely notification of a clients death helps them not only undertake whatever legal responsibilities they may have and remove the person from their mailing lists, but also acknowledge the passing. It’s very powerful, as customers are once again being recognized as people not just a statistic, a client number in a database.”
“While that seems like an old fashioned value in today’s fast- paced world, it is one that customers, and their survivors, want to find in business. Coupled with hearing from the community and their friends from all over the world, it’s very powerful.”
“I feel we’re doing our bit to help bring the human face back and that feels really good.” she added.
A Memory Tree creates and gifts Remembrance Pages for all its listings. The pages are open to the community for 21 days, after which they are archived but available for future or ongoing messages. Sue reports that many use the pages to have final conversations with the deceased, remember special moments spent together, make tribute to a friend, mark an anniversary or special family occasion, and connect with old friends and distant relatives.
The most popular features on the Remembrance Pages are the refresh flowers and light candle options with over two million being refreshed and lit. Complete published death records date back to 2006.

Blog - 18th February 2010

Facebook DeFACED

It can not be denied that we live in an electronic age and that online services are an essential in all areas of business. Sadly, without monitoring, online remembrance type pages can be abused and cause a great of harm.

Case in point, this week a 12 year old Brisbane school boy was fatally stabbed at school. A 13 year old fellow pupil committed the crime. Within hours a Facebook page was opened and despite many genuine message left there was extremely offensive material, including child sexual abuse, bestiality and torture also posted. Police raced to close the page down, only for another to open hours later. Read story here.

It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time this kind of abuse happens and that’s why it is important to support and promote genuine sites such a who not only have public pages that the wider community can use, but also have a full monitoring ....

Read Full Story

Media Release - Business - 16th February 2010

One Million Page Views in One Year for Online Memory "Bank"

In only twelve months of operation, Christchurch based death information services company, A Memory Tree, has reached over one million page views, now storing thousands of memories on pages created for those who have died all over New Zealand.

Managing director and company founder, Sue Skeet, says A Memory Tree’s website has recognised an unfulfilled need for both business and private users to be able to find death information promptly. “It makes sense to quickly pool death information in one place so that finding it is both easy and efficient.”

“The increase in website traffic has translated directly into significant demand for our service, from businesses keen to receive death notice information. The legal profession, insurers and healthcare providers can see immediate benefits, especially in today’s market, where customer service is a key point of difference between one business and another”, says Sue. “The service we provide can prove crucial in communicating to a client database – it improves business processes, updates are received in real time, and the information will help avoid any embarrassing errors,” she added.

The company has been collating deaths since December 2006 and there are now over 90,000 listings and pages created. For any business maintaining a client database, the information A Memory Tree provides, together with its’ timely delivery, is essential. For relatives, friends and colleagues of the deceased, the remembrance pages provide a place to leave messages and memories, and find people they may have lost touch with.

“Death is a delicate time. It has an impact on a great number of people and businesses, and just as information needs to be imparted quickly to meet the deceased last wishes, not to mention all other administrative matters relating to the person, it’s also a time to connect with others and offer support to each other. Our remembrance pages have been very well received with just under 65% of them being visited”, says Sue. “Quite simply, A Memory Tree fills the gap that time and geography otherwise creates,” she concluded.

A Memory Tree is based in Christchurch at the Powerhouse Incubator.

About A Memory Tree Ltd
A Memory Tree is New Zealand's largest and most comprehensive online business holding death information. All listings are added to the site within days, often hours, after they occur, with over 99% of all deaths in New Zealand recorded. Public remembrance pages are opened for each listing and services offered include alerts and notice summaries, which assist large scale businesses to identify the deceased, giving them the opportunity to update their records in real time. Based at the Powerhouse Incubator in Christchurch, A Memory Tree is currently seeking for growth.

Story - 22nd January 2010

Greeting Cards - Go Green or Go Online

Every year billions of paper greeting cards are bought and sold and, despite the introduction of e-cards in the 1990’s, there seems to be no slowing up on consumption.

In the USA and UK the average person buys around 30 cards a year. American consumers purchase approximately 7 billion greeting cards annually and in the UK, over 2 billion. If aligned end-to-end, nine billion cards would stretch around the world 54 times (nearly 2.2 million kms).

Given similar buying habits, the Australasian greeting card sales is guesstimated to be around 1 billion cards a year.

To meet these three countries greeting card markets alone over 312,000 trees (78,000 tonnes of paper) is needed, and that’s just the card alone - never mind the envelope. Add to that the by-products (inks, dyes and glues), postage, fuels consumed in manufacturing and distribution, and it seems like madness to continue this tradition at a time where every little bit helps both environmentally and financially. ..........

Read full story

Radio New Zealand – 10 November 2009

Lessons for the Living – Katy Gosset interview

New Zealand's national radio station interviews founder in Christchurch and finds her work offers lessons for the living.

Listen to interview (mp3)

Media Release - 1st December 2009

Spare a thought for 28,000 families

For millions of people Christmas is a special time when family comes together to share gifts and enjoy each other’s company. But for thousands of New Zealand families, it also serves as a reminder of their losses this year.

Recently released annual death figures from Statistics NZ for the year ending September 2009 show a total of 28,680 deaths registered and, while the average life expectancy has increased to 80.4 years, the reality is that there’s an awful lot of people dying unexpectedly and prematurely, says Sue Skeet, managing director of New Zealand’s largest online remembrance site.

“There’s a lot of grief and loneliness at this time of the year and many people have unexpectedly or suddenly lost someone near and dear to them.

“We’re noticing a significant increase of visitors to Remembrance Pages, more so these past few weeks with Christmas approaching as it’s reminding people of family and often happy times shared with those no longer with us. And while grief is such a personal thing, at least it’s talked about more and there is support available for people,” she added.

Statistics show that 3.3 people in New Zealand die every hour, 79 people a day. Over the Christmas period 24th December – 3rd January, around 790 families will be dealing with immediate loss.

Leading Psychologist and owner of Mindworks Psychological Services, Sara Chatwin, says Christmas can be difficult as people who would normally be around to provide support just aren’t available at such a hectic time.

“Although some agencies close down for the holidays, there are services like Lifeline, Christian Support Services, and the Samaritans, along with private professionals that are open throughout the holiday time.

“Often grieving people do need some time alone. The best thing friends can do is to identify what is needed without having to ask. Just lend a hand, take care of some of the day-to-day things like making a meal or doing some housework, or even taking them out for a coffee. This relieves some of the burden when emotional resources are low.” says Sara.

“People need to reach out to their friends and the greater community at this sad time and not be too proud to ask for help”, she added.

Clinical leader at Relationship Services, Jayne O’Neill adds that rituals at this time of the year are an effective way of helping with the grieving process.

“One of humans greatest sufferings is bereavement simply because death is a core fear for us. But we can get so busy mourning what died, that we ignore what didn’t and having rituals in place can help really help the living. A candle by a photo, writing a letter, taking time to recall and remember the person can be very helpful.

For the bereaved, people are a vital link to the ‘normal’ world and keeping in touch is essential.

“Often the first few weeks are a blur after which the real grief kicks in and if there are people able to continue visits and support for a reasonable period of time beyond that, this will greatly help the bereaved. Friends are a healthy distraction and often give the person ‘permission’ to be normal,” Jayne added.

The main agencies available to help people with grief include Lifeline, Skylight (for children and young people), Relationship Services or professional Counsellors or Psychologists for immediate help, and the National Association for Loss and Grief (NZ) Inc (NALAG), for on-going support for issues related to loss and grief.

Relationship Services employs 130 counselors at over 40 locations throughout New Zealand. Its main centre offices reopen on the 5th January 2010. Mindworks is open throughout the holiday break.

A Memory Tree lists over 99% of all deaths in the country and opens remembrance pages for free for every listing so that friends can leave memories and messages of support. It has reported a steady increase in users since it launched earlier this year.

The Press, Christchurch - 20 October 2009

In Good Company - Business Profile

Christchurch daily newspaper, The Press, profiles A Memory Tree business. Business journalist Tina Law interviews the founder and reports A Memory Tree is a not only a place where the wider community to go to share memories and condolences. She writes about the alert service which helps lawyers and others requiring death information to be forwarded to them as early as possible.

Read article

NZ Women's Weekly - 12 October 2009

My Cyberspace Cemetery - People Profile

New Zealand's leading weekly women's magazine interviews founder. Personal tragedy led Sue Skeet to start a website where people can go to grieve. A Memory Tree is likened to a cyberspace cemetery.

Read article

Television Interview - 12 October 2009

CTV interviews Sue Skeet, Founder and Managing Director

Sue Skeet takes you through how A Memory Tree evolved. From tragedy to triumph, the site is helping thousands of people every day find death information online, share and record memories, and provide a special place to offer condolences.

View video

Media Release - 6th October 2009

“Cemetery” Virtually Biggest in Southern Hemisphere

The Waikumete Cemetery in Waitakere is the southern hemisphere’s largest cemetery, but only for another week as New Zealand’s only virtual cemetery, A Memory Tree, exceeds them.

Records dating back 123 years see 80,925 casket and ash burials at the Waitakere site, a figure that will be surpassed when the online remembrance and guest book website lists over 81,000 remembrance pages next week.

The website has been recording deaths since December 2006 and Managing Director and founder of, Sue Skeet, says that the growth in people using the site since its launch earlier this year has been rapid.

“We’re totally unique and provide a much called for service by pulling all the current publicly available death information together in one easy to use place. People want this and we’re experiencing a steady 40-60% growth in site visitors every month.

“People, including business, nationally and internationally, are using us to find death information quickly, and in many cases they use our pages to share memories and offer condolences amongst the extended networks of people affected by their loss.

Skeet started the site after the loss of friend, Christchurch accountant Trevor Clague who was murdered in 2006. She wanted a place for the wider group of people affected by loss, to honour those that are important to them.

“My original concept in 2005 was to develop a site to help others at this delicate time, which is still the primary reason A Memory Tree exists. Interestingly what grew in the following years of development was a one-stop information shop. We now record over 98% of all deaths in the country, the remainder being those not published in national newspapers” she said.

Waikumete’s recorded listings are expected to be exceeded by the site early next week after being the largest cemetery in both New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere.

“A Memory Tree will never replace cemeteries as a place to worship the lives of loved ones, but it’s certainly helping a great many people take action and support each other, no matter where in the world they are or when they find out about a death, and our services are open 24/7” she added.

Media Release – May 2009

Slain Policeman - NZ Grieves Online

When Senior Constable Len Snee (53) was shot dead in Napier on Thursday 7th May 2009, he was New Zealand’s 29th police officer to die on duty in more than 120 years.

“Often it is a time like this that that the community pulls together in shared sorrow and in remembrance of the people that put themselves out there to protect us,” said Sue Skeet, managing director of, NZ’s largest online remembrance book service.

Within hours of Len’s Remembrance Page opening on the website hundreds of people had visited leaving messages, lighting candles and refreshing flowers, she said.

“Len’s death comes at a great cost to everyone, none so more as his family. It also deeply affects the wider community. And despite the many changes in our society, people are fundamentally holding onto traditional values and care and support each other in times of loss. It just may done a little differently these days by going online.

“A Memory Tree has a core objective which is to help people communicate, share and support each other,” she concluded.

The website hosts over 67,000 Remembrance Pages. It launched in January 2009 and Skeet says it records over 98% of all the deaths in New Zealand. Death records go back to December 2006.

Media Release - May 2009

Mother’s Day 101 Years Old – Would Anna Approve?

Mother’s Day as we know it celebrates its 101st year this Sunday, and with it generations of mothers past and present are recognised for their positive contribution to society.

It began in 1905 when American Anna Jarvis swore at her mother’s graveside to dedicate her life to establish a Mother’s day to honour mothers, living and dead. Would Anna approve of how Mother’s Day is celebrated in today’s society?

She campaigned for three years to have the day recognised, with the St Andrew’s Church in Grafton, West Virginia holding the first ever Sunday Service to honour mothers on the 10th May 1908. By 1914 an official Mother’s Day was adopted to emphasise women’s role in the family.

“It is rumored that Anna had argued with her mother before she had died and they never got to make peace with each other.

“In the years that followed she became increasingly concerned over the commercialisation of Mother’s Day and is quoted as saying ‘I want a day of sentiment not profit’,” said Sue Skeet, managing director of

Ms Skeet says remembering our mothers after they pass on is just as important as acknowledging those that are nurturing their children today.

“Our mothers and grandmothers that have died hold a special place in our history. Acknowledging them, sometimes making peace with them if need be, doesn’t need to come at a commercial price.

“We have opened a Remembrance Page in memory of Mother’s Day at and invite the children and grandchildren to leave memories there for free,” said Ms Skeet.

A Memory Tree is New Zealand’s largest Remembrance website and has over 67,000 Remembrance Pages open. The site was launched in February 2009 after several years in research & development.

So what happened to Anna?

In 1948 she died having never had children of her own. She was blind and penniless and buried next to her mother in a cemetery in Philadelphia.

“Mums have a tough job and saying thanks isn’t always easy. We offer our Mother’s Day Page to the community in hope that others will benefit from remembering and cherishing their memories’” added Ms Skeet.

2009 - January - Media Release 

New Look at a Dying Tradition

The launch of the website, A Memory, this month has put a new spin on a dying tradition by providing users the opportunity to search 98% of NZ deaths on-line and leave a condolence message for each and every one of them.

The site records and stores all death notices from 27 of New Zealand's leading newspapers and provides Remembrance Pages for each person listed. Newspapers are searchable within days of publication.

Collection of records began in December 2006 and currently over 60,000 individuals and thousands of death notices are searchable.

Founder and managing director of the unique website, Sue Skeet, said A Memory Tree has provided a solution for a growing problem.

"Today's families are splintered, the traditional nuclear family is no longer a society norm, many feel a sense of disconnection, and we've come up with a modern solution to a growing problem.

“There's so much loss in our world today, and it’s vitally important for family, friends and the community to start supporting each other. A Memory Tree offers a place to validate the memories, relationships and important people in our lives. It's a place to celebrate, grieve, remember and cherish events.

“Information held in newspaper notices also offers our users a powerful tool to start searching for related friends and family of the deceased. It gives them a great starting point for any search,’ she added

The Remembrance Page feature offers the opportunity to leave messages, refresh virtual flowers and light virtual candles, link to grief support providers, send a gift and make travel arrangements.

Links to charities and funeral homes, and information on cultural protocols are some of the other features.

Unlike traditional off-line notices, Remembrance Pages are free to leave messages for the first 14 days. They can then be reopened through a single sponsorship. Sponsorship fees start at $19.90 for one month, to $99.90 for 13 months. Sponsored pages are then active again for unlimited free messages.

“It’s important to us to provide a largely free, very affordable, service that is available to everyone affected by loss. Time, your geographic location in the world and relationship to the deceased or connection to their family and friends is not a barrier.

"These pages are held for future generations to access and they provide a rich picture of who we are now, who we were in the past and all that we aspire to be in the future. An extremely valuable legacy to leave." Ms Skeet added.

A Memory Tree is proud to support

  • Christian Blind Mission
  • New Zealand Red Cross
  • Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Society of New Zealand
  • Victim Support
  • Coastguard New Zealand
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Kidney Kids
  • Skylight
  • Arthritis New Zealand
  • Parkinson's New Zealand
  • New Zealand Land Search & Rescue
  • Epilepsy New Zealand
  • Samaritans New Zealand
  • Asthma Foundation
  • Look Good Feel Better
  • Orphans Aid International
  • Save the Children
  • Christchurch Heart Institute
  • Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand
See more...