Since New Zealand moved into Alert Level 2 just over a week ago there's been 650 funerals or tangihanga registered says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
In Level 2 funeral directors have been required to submit a form that registers for an exemption to allow up to 50 people to attend a funeral if they could demonstrate that appropriate public health measures were in place.
“Some of these will relate to the same event because there may be a registration for a service of a church and also one at a crematorium,” says Dr Bloomfield.
It comes after Māori were left disappointed when only a maximum of 10 people were previously allowed to attend a tangihanga at a time, when the regulations for hospitality businesses were allowed up to 100 people in a single venue. The public outrage led to an announcement by the Government on May 13 to change the restriction to 50 people instead of 10.
“I'm really pleased that that system has been working really well and enabling families and friends to get together and grieve for lost family members,” says Dr Bloomfield.
Health measures in place at tangihanga include physical distancing and hand hygiene, with no food and drink able to be served afterwards.