Tikanga Māori to be regulated throughout funeral industry

By Talisa Kupenga

The funeral industry will be regulated to consider Māori customs when it comes to whānau access and the management of their deceased, following an inquiry by the Māori Affairs Select Committee. Green Party MP Marama Davidson says this will make a big difference for whānau, especially when dealing with authorities.

Māori Select Committee Deputy Chair Marama Davidson says the outcome is fantastic for Māori.

"The families really wanted to be able to grieve as per Māori custom and with this out come they will now be able to do that."

Some of the recommendations accepted by Government include:

  • improving cultural considerations in the coronial system
  • implement a formal communication process between first responders, coronial services and whānau incorporating tikanga Māori
  • require the coroner to consider tikanga when determining if someone should remain with the deceased

Māori Select Committee member Peeni Henare says "In the next two to three years whānau should be able to retrieve their loved ones back sooner."

Tipene Funerals Director Francis Tipene submitted one of the several hundred submissions received. He says the outcome is a good start.

"This is a good outcome but it will take time for Funeral Directors become educated with Māori protocol, their needs and an understanding of the Māori worldview so it becomes normal when working with families."

The only recommendation rejected was a review into the practice regarding co-sleeping situations that resulted in sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).