094222534 hello@besoul.co.nz

our people

We have a dedicated and experienced team that is well-prepared to provide support to bereaved families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This reflects our strong commitment to ensuring families receive the assistance and guidance they need, at any time of day.

We take pride in creating meaningful farewells that honour the lives of those who have passed away. Crafting a farewell that tells a beautiful story helps the family to celebrate the unique and individual experiences of each person. This personalised approach can bring comfort to grieving families and friends, as they remember and cherish their loved ones in a way that truly captures their essence.

Our attention to detail and care enables us to help families find solace and connection as they navigate their grief during a challenging time.

meet the team

RAOUL ROBERTSON

Director

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Raoul’s journey in Warkworth has been deeply intertwined with the local community. Having lived in the area for five decades, he has a strong connection to the place. With his wife Karleen he has raised four children of their own in the area.

Initially trained as a hairdresser, Raoul took a bold step at the age of twenty-one by starting his own hairdressing business. After time in this field, he decided to explore a different path and worked in the funeral industry for three years. This experience had a profound impact on him, igniting a desire to help those who are grieving and making a difference during difficult times.

Despite his detour into the funeral industry, Raoul eventually returned to his passion for hairdressing. For the past two decades he has owned and operated Rococo Hair Design in Warkworth.

However, his experiences in the funeral industry never truly left him, and the idea of creating besoul Funerals remained quietly waiting for the right opportunity. The vision behind besoul is to honour the essence of a person and provide a tranquil welcoming space for families to remember their loved ones in a meaningful way.

This vision became a reality when Raoul connected with Les Miller, and together, they embarked on the journey of establishing besoul.

With his diverse background in both hairdressing and the funeral industry, Raoul brings a unique set of skills and perspectives to besoul Funerals, ensuring that it will be a caring and thoughtful service for the community of Warkworth and beyond.

LES MILLER

Director

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In 1971, Les was born at Warkworth Cottage Hospital. He received his education at Warkworth Primary School and later attended Mahurangi College. Les’s family owned a farm near Martins Bay, which his grandfather had purchased back in 1947.

Following his schooling, Les embarked on a sheetfed printing apprenticeship at Times Colourprint. Subsequently, he established a successful business specialising in desktop publishing and signwriting. In 1998, he sold his business and pursued a law degree at Victoria University in Wellington. For nearly 20 years, Les has been practicing law, now at Webster Malcolm Law, located in Warkworth.

Les and Raoul have been lifelong friends, having known each other since their school days. Together, they shared a vision to create besoul Funerals, a place where people could tailor arrangements to their preferences, with spaces thoughtfully designed for moments of quiet reflection or the sharing of cherished stories and memories with loved ones.

LILY WATSON

Manager / Funeral Director

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Lily grew up in Auckland and has 6 generations of family heritage in Devonport on the North Shore.  After graduating from school, she worked in medical administration, eventually becoming Business Manager for several practices, and later moving into the law industry where she worked as Practice Manager.

After raising two children, attending University, and working full time, Lily moved to the funeral industry 10 years ago.  Having lost her own brother when he was 15, she had always held the idea of wanting to work with people who were bereaved and by now the time was right for her to move into this challenging but rewarding work.

Working at funeral homes on the North Shore, her passion was fulfilled when she qualified as a registered funeral director with the NZ Diploma in Funeral Directing, being awarded the highest marks in the theory of funeral directing in her studies.

Lily and her husband Pete moved to Warkworth 2 years ago when the opportunity arose for Lily to manage and continue to develop besoul Funerals. With her commitment to serving families with professionalism, empathy, and experience she is able to fulfill what is truly her vocation.  Passionate about their work, Lily and Pete know they made the right move, and feel blessed to be a part of the ongoing journey of besoul.

PETE SHARP

Funeral Assistant

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Pete grew up in small New Zealand towns as his father was a bank manager and the family were often transferred to different locations.  After graduating school he moved to Nelson and took on a carpet-laying apprenticeship.  After 4 years in this field, Pete decided to pursue a different path.  While working part time in a rest home he pursued and completed his degree in Psychology, which ignited his interest and understanding of helping people on a deeper level.

Upon graduating Pete worked in the mental health field for several years. This experience deepened his understanding of psychological issues and how to support those in need.  A desire for change led Pete to move to Western Australia where he utilised his carpet-laying skills in the Mining industry.

After some time, he returned to New Zealand, where he worked in the mental health and disabilities field for 9 years, before moving to Warkworth with Lily 2 years ago to take up the opportunity of joining besoul Funerals.

At besoul Pete has embraced the role of funeral assistant, playing a crucial part in supporting bereaved families, and assisting on funerals and transfers.  Pete finds his work at besoul very rewarding, demonstrating his passion and commitment to providing empathy and support to those facing loss and bereavement.

JONATHAN KIRKPATRICK

Celebrant

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Jonathan has conducted thousands of funerals over a 40 year career, firstly as an Anglican priest and latterly as an independent celebrant.  He came to New Zealand from the UK over 30 years ago and his experience includes business, academia, music, counselling and pastoral care. He has an understanding and appreciation of Maoritanga and some basic Te Reo.  He understands the importance of a funeral in the grief process and will manage and carry a funeral celebration to enable family members to grieve without having to manage the occasion. Alongside family members he will craft and deliver an appropriate celebration of life for those who have died.  Most of his funerals are non religious but of course he can deliver a Christian funeral if that is appropriate.  Jonathan is a valued member of our team at besoul, helping us create beautiful funerals.

He can be found on Facebook  Jonathan Kirkpatrick – Celebrant

Instagram jonathan-celebrant  and Twitter @Auck_celebrant

LIBBY DYKES

Celebrant

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Libby is an experienced Funeral Celebrant with a decade of dedicated service in honouring the lives of loved ones.  With compassion and understanding, Libby works closely with families, ensuring that every ceremony is a heartfelt tribute to the person being remembered.  With her calm and professional approach, Libby provides unwavering support to families during a most difficult time.  In planning funeral ceremonies, she alleviates the stress and allows loved ones to focus on healing and remembrance.

Libby considers it a privilege to be entrusted with creating personalised funeral ceremonies that truly reflect the unique personality and essence of each individual.  She believes in celebrating the life of your loved one in a special and meaningful way.  With choosing Libby as your Funeral Celebrant, you can count on her expertise, empathy, and commitment to creating a memorable ceremony that honours and cherishes the legacy of your loved one.

CORALIE GIBSON

Grief Counsellor

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I am a Counsellor with NZAC membership and hold a post-graduate diploma in Narrative Therapy. I bring 30+ years of experience working in the healthcare profession being a Nurse and a Midwife. I enjoy working alongside all people and it comes as an immense privilege to work with people living through loss and grief.

I understand grief is different for all people and I appreciate the significance of support through this time. Creating and holding a safe space for a person to express their feelings and thoughts is an honour. I am interested in hearing and learning what is important to you. This can be a precious time of new meaning-making toward yourself, your life, and your loved ones.

Please be in touch if you have any questions or want to schedule a session.

Sessions are available online, by telephone, or in person at Algies Bay.

Email coralie@counsellor@net.nz

Telephone 021 2763616

“I would like to thank you very much on behalf of our family for the prompt, professional and very caring manner in which you conducted yourself during the process of my father’s end of life celebration. From my first phone call to you, you guided us through every step required to look after Dad and made what would have been a very stressful ordeal so much easier with your advice and caring attention to detail. The flexibility you afforded us to personalise our celebration of Dad’s life made our day very special indeed.”

– Robin, for and on behalf of the Wheeler family

besoul Funerals

At besoul we bring our passion to creating a memorial event that captures that essence of a person. Were they a gentle soul? Were they the life and soul of the party?

Phone 24/7: 09 422 2534

Email: hello@besoul.co.nz

12 Gumfield Drive, Warkworth

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