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The #DearGrief 2020 photo exhibition

The #DearGrief 2020 photo exhibition

In 2020, we hosted a very special #DearGrief campaign – a stunning photo exhibition featuring portraits of real Kiwis who have been touched by grief.

Our 2020 #DearGrief campaign fell in a special year: Kenzie’s 18th birthday. We held a photo exhibition at The Tuesday Club in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland – a powerful and moving exploration of grief. It featured stunning portraits of real Kiwis, taken by talented NZ photographer Lee Howell, alongside handwritten letters to grief.

It also included a message of support from HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

About the exhibition, featuring images by Lee Howell

The #DearGrief photo exhibition featured portraits of real Kiwis who have been touched by grief. They were taken by NZ photographer Lee Howell.

Lee grew up in the UK where he first embarked on a career in automotive engineering that took him to Formula One as a race team mechanic. After being inspired by his brother’s travel images, he bought his first SLR camera in 2002 and began teaching himself to shoot.

After moving to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2006 he put down the spanners in favour of a fulltime career behind the camera. Since then he’s developed a reputation for producing high quality, professional images for corporate, editorial and advertising clients alike.

While he loves the challenge of shooting automotive and sport subjects, his real passion lies in working with people and creating portraits that glow with a natural warmth and capture a person’s true character.

Explore these stunning images that capture the reality of experiencing and living with grief for many Kiwis.

Bringing the exhibition to life

The #DearGrief 2020 photo exhibition came about after Nic, Kenzie’s Gift founder, had the opportunity to speak at the Downtown Rotary Club earlier in 2020. Here, she talked about the vision for the campaign to explore the impact of grief while celebrating Kenzie’s 18th and her legacy.

After the talk, we were invited to apply to the Chenery Memorial Trust who very kindly granted us funds to enable us to get the campaign underway and commission a photographer. As luck would have it, we got to know Lee Howell through our amazing young ambassador Becca Hounsell.  

When the grant came through, we reached out to Lee and asked if he would be the photographer for the campaign. Thankfully he said yes.

Exhibition supporters and thanks

Lee’s skill and talent at bringing each of the participant’s poignant and intimate experiences with grief to the fore through his images resulted in a very powerful and moving exhibition. A huge thank you to Lee.

But you can’t have an exhibition without an exhibition space. This is where Nic’s good friend, Nick Worthington comes in. Nick owns The Tuesday Club in Airedale St in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. With a very tight budget, we were relying on goodwill and generosity, which Nick provided in spades.

Every exhibition needs an opening night, and opening nights need refreshments and staff. Again, wonderful sponsors stepped up: Monteiths, Goldie Estate, Tiny Triumphs, Snackichangi and Northern Rocks. A huge thank you to you all.

Our wonderful team of volunteers on opening night and throughout the exhibit, giving your time so generously to staff the exhibit, we could not have done it without you. Thank you.

Over the course of the planning and delivery, not just for the exhibition, but wider campaign, there has been a huge effort put in by our digital marketer who gives much of her professional time voluntarily, Sarah Idle. Sarah has project managed the web development for the online component of the campaign. From putting together the call out for participants through newsletters and our social media, working closely with our web development company, Benefitz and also getting the message out far and wide. A huge thank you Sarah and Benefitz for all your commitment and hard work over the course of #DearGrief2020.  

To our amazing support manager, Elisa Jeffrey, who went over and above this month, your dedication and support, organising, managing, getting resources, setting up...the list goes on and on...thank you so very much. You make things appear so seamless and effortless, a direct contradiction to what is actually going on in the background planning and implementing.  

To the wonderful film crew Popular that Lee Howell kindly brought in to support the campaign with video interviews (including one with our fantastic ambassador Nigel Latta). Thank you so much for your amazing contribution, it has been outstanding.

To our designers and printers, Marianne Webb of Perfect Curve Creative, and the team at Integral Copy and Print:  thank you all for your fantastic work and support, you exceeded all expectations.

To the Kenzie's Gift Board, whose continued dedication and commitment toward our vision of ensuring young kiwis and their families facing serious illness or grief get the right support at the right time, we’re indebted with a huge amount of gratitude to you. You give your professional expertise, knowledge and time voluntarily, working tirelessly toward our collective vision. Thank you.

To our incredible participants 

We’ve saved the most important thank yous to last, because without each of you sharing your personal and intimate experiences of grief, there would be no conversation about grief, and it would remain in the shadows. You have each shone a light on how we all carry our grief and how grief shapes our lives. Hopefully, by opening up the conversation about grief at a societal and national level, the needs of bereaved families will be better understood and the right support at the right time is available to all who need it.

 Thank you to:

  • Kath
  • Toby
  • Ruby
  • Eddie
  • Aleks
  • Luka
  • Simon
  • Libby
  • Mark
  • Linden
  • Grant
  • Rebecca
  • Bonita
  • Morris
  • Guy
  • Michael
  • Sian
  • Conor
  • Dr Andy