Human corpse exhibition wrong - tikanga advisor

Human remains are on display at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland in the name of health and science.  Chief Advisor of Tikanga Māori for the Waitematā District Health Board Naida Glavish says the exhibition is culturally and morally wrong.

But the exhibition manager John O'Connell says the exhibition is all about health and well-being.

O'Connell says, "This is a great opportunity for them to understand the whole physiology of the body which is consistent with the teaching in schools.  For the children to go along and actually see and experience and be taught and understanding it by visually seeing it- it's a great thing for us".

But opposing views have come through surrounding the sacredness of the dead.

Glavish says, "They think that it's okay to put body parts on the show but these aren't just animal remains, they are human remains and by putting them on display they are actually dehumanising these people and their bodies".

However, O'Connell says the health and well-being aspect justifies the exhibition. 

"I totally understand those concerns and we've left that up to the organisers to be involved in terms of working with local iwi.  So from our point of view, it's around how we support people's health and well-being and improve people's health while they're alive".

In a statement to Te Kāea a Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesperson said:

"Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei looked closely at the organisers' objectives and the nature of the exhibition and agreed there is overall merit for Māori both young and old by improving general health awareness.  Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei opened the exhibition on Monday 23 April with a whakatau onsite at Hilton Exhibition Centre, Princes Wharf. Cultural guidance for the exhibition itself was not provided by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei".                        

The Body Worlds Vital exhibition runs until Friday the 13th of July.