Tangihanga Guidelines for Alert Level 2
The following is from the Government’s COVID-19 website (14 May 2020)
Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 2.
The Government has announced changes to the number of people who can attend funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 2.
These changes balance the significant risk of COVID-19 spreading with the need for people to come together to grieve their loved ones.
At Alert Level 2, funeral directors can seek approval to allow up to 50 people to attend a funeral or tangihanga. The Ministry of Health must be satisfied that a range of public health measures can consistently be met, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and no food and drink congregations afterwards.
Read about the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Tangihanga Guidelines for Alert Level 3
The following has been provided by the Ministry of Health (updated 29 April 2020)
The restriction on small public gatherings means that sadly, no formal tangihanga can happen during Alert Level 3.
We understand the stress this puts on whānau during a tough time. These are unprecedented times and we must do everything we can to keep our whānau safe and protected.
Under the new guidelines, viewings (up to 10 people only at a time) including kaikōrero/kaikaranga/members of the clergy are allowed.
Funeral directors are encouraged to provide an opportunity for whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the deceased (or would have been if the deceased died in isolation) to go to the funeral home to view the body in the first instance.
Other whānau, friends or others in separate isolation bubbles, and from within the same region, can go to the funeral home for viewing, but only up to a maximum of 10 people at any one time. Viewings should be made by appointment only.
We encourage tūpāpaku to be buried in the region they usually reside in. However, tūpāpaku may be transported inter-regionally when a person dies outside of the region they usually live in or when a person wishes to be interred at their urupā. Regions are defined as the regions that Regional Councils operate within.
For more information, download the COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Kei te rāhuitia tonutia te motu factsheet.
Tangihanga Guidelines for Alert Level 4
The following guidelines have been provided by the Ministry of Health (updated 30 March 2020)
Download the COVID-19 – Kua rāhui te motu factsheet or view information below.
Bereaved families and whānau from all cultures and backgrounds will find this time challenging. This makes it even more important that we show each other kindness and caring, manaakitanga and aroha.
Already, iwi and hapū have been adapting tikanga and kawa to keep our people safe. This has also extended to tangihanga.
There are now strict rules put in place during Alert Level 4 for when loved ones have passed away. These rules apply to everyone, every culture, every religion.
We support the advice and guidelines shared by Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā (The National Māori Pandemic Group) on tikanga, hui and tangihanga for Alert Level 4 - this means no formal tangihanga until further notice. For Māori this means:
no public funeral services whatsoever
no tangihanga at our marae, funeral homes, churches and other venues
no private whānau tangihanga at home.
Because COVID-19 is now in the community and public gatherings put all our whānau members at risk, especially our kaumātua. Therefore, we must protect people’s health and ensure our health system can look after New Zealanders who become sick.
What are your options?
Immediate burial of tūpāpaku (deceased whānau member) at the urupā (graveyard).
Cremation and a delayed process for the burial of ashes once we recover.
This approach will reduce contact spread of COVID-19 to our kaumātua and our at-risk whānau members. It is the best way to keep our communities safe.
We are regularly updating our advice and guidelines to be accurate, relevant to whānau and responsive to the changes in our situation.
We will issue further guidelines for whānau on what to do during Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1 over the coming weeks. It’s important to remember that once we come out of Alert Level 4, COVID-19 is still a real threat and we will need to remain vigilant.
Alert Level 4 – kua rāhui te motu: Official guidelines for tangihanga
What to do when someone dies
Appoint a whānau member to potentially liaise with funeral directors, health providers and/or police.
Māori communities, iwi, hapū and whānau are being encouraged to establish local ‘kaiwhakarite’ or people who can assist whānau during this time as well. You may wish to contact your ‘kaiwhakarite’ to seek advice. Get in touch with your iwi and hapū organisations, marae, local social services provider or local Civil Defence Emergency Management Centre to see if a ‘kaiwhakarite’ has already been established.
Contact the deceased’s Health Provider (GP, Hauora, PHO).
If your loved one has died from a known health issue, this will be critical information for the funeral director – your loved one’s health provider will liaise directly with the funeral director (once appointed) to pass on the necessary information.
If your loved one has died from COVID-19 then it will be critical for the health provider to provide you with information on what to do next – there are strict guidelines that must be followed in these instances. There is also information available at covid19.govt.nz
If your loved one has died from an unknown cause, a post-mortem may need to be undertaken. Your health provider will assist you in the first instance and the Police will then facilitate this process. They will liaise directly with your appointed whānau member.
Get in touch with a local funeral director to organise arrangements for burial or cremation – as set out above. If you are unsure about funeral directors, work with your local Police Iwi Liaison Officer, ‘kaiwhakarite’, Tribal Authority, health provider and/or local Civil Defence Emergency Management Centre to identify someone suitable.
Once you have secured the services of a funeral director, be prepared for the following:
- If the Funeral Director encounters high levels of anxiety, distress or confrontational behaviour due to the restrictions we are all under, they will contact the local Police for assistance.
- They may uplift your loved one wearing personal protective equipment including masks, gloves, protective clothing etc. – this may be daunting for whānau, especially young ones.
- They will only allow one appointed whānau member to facilitate arrangements including paperwork – this may need to be done remotely or at least using strict social distancing measures.
- Only whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the tūpāpaku (ie, whānau pani/kirimate) will be allowed to go to the funeral home for viewing, karakia, poroporoaki or mihi.
- Other whānau, friends or others (in separate isolation bubbles) will not be allowed to go to the funeral home either with the whānau-pani/kirimate or separately for viewing, karakia, poroporaki or mihi.
- All funeral directors are being encouraged to carry out burials and cremations as quickly as possible.
- Again, only whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the deceased will be allowed to go to the cemetery alongside the tūpāpaku and funeral director.
- Importantly, the above option only applies within the region the tūpāpaku has passed away in. Tūpāpaku are not to be transported inter-regionally.
- This does not preclude whānau from electing to have their loved one placed in storage (refrigerated), if this is available locally, until we are past the current Alert Level 4. You can discuss this option with the funeral director if you wish to.
Other important information
Tūpāpaku are potentially contagious
- Where possible, try to minimise contact with the deceased loved one to prevent COVID-19 spread.
It will be very hard, but we cannot allow any others to come into contact with the deceased or those who are in isolation with them.
This means that whānau and friends are unable to visit your home or funeral home to pay their respects.
It also means that the time available with your deceased loved one will be short.
If your loved one passes away in hospital
- You may be able to view them at a safe distance before and after their death, but only if the hospital is still allowing access to their buildings. Remote viewing may be available via technology.
You will not be permitted to touch, wash and/or dress your loved one’s body.
The hospital will transfer your loved one to its mortuary and then into your funeral director’s care.
Only whānau who lived at the same residence as the tūpāpaku or have been in the same isolation
bubble as the tūpāpaku will be allowed to go to the funeral home for viewing, karakia, poroporoakī
Funeral directors may have restrictions in place depending on their own health and safety policies
and protocols. They will let you know what these are.
If your loved one passes away at home
Whānau touching, washing and/or dressing of your loved one’s body poses a significant health risk and is strongly advised against.
The funeral director will transfer your loved one to their facilities.
If your loved one passes away overseas
Cremation will almost certainly have to occur, as repatriation is likely to be impossible.
Your loved one’s ashes may be repatriated at a later time when border controls return to normal.
Travel for tangihanga
Only whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the tūpāpaku will be allowed to go to the funeral home.
As above, only whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the tūpāpaku will be allowed to go to the cemetery alongside the tūpāpaku and funeral director.
Strict travel restrictions are still in place. Whānau who are travelling must do so using their own vehicles or by using authorised essential transport services.
As soon as the burial is complete, or as soon as whānau have received their loved one’s ashes, they must return home directly without taking detours.
Protecting everyone in your isolation bubble
Anyone who is unwell, even mildly so, must remain home.
People at higher risk must also stay home. This includes kaumātua, pregnant women, whānau who
are immune-compromised or have cancer or pre-existing conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, kidney problems, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Although you may not be used to cremation it may have to be an option you consider, especially if you want to return your loved one to their whānau urupā once we recover.
Be prepared to potentially not have your loved one’s ashes returned until after the pandemic.
Role of marae
All marae are closed during Alert Level 4.
Marae can assist whānau via email, text and phone contact to ensure they have access to cultural and technology support if needed.
Burial at urupā
Whānau who live in the same region as their whānau urupā may opt to have their loved one buried there.
Whānau will need to make the urupā arrangements themselves. Marae can assist with making these arrangements.
Role of funeral directors
All funeral directors have agreed to follow a strict set of guidelines and will abide by these.
Funeral directors will liaise with local councils to ensure that any local authority rules are followed.
Funeral directors may have other restrictions in place depending on their own health and safety
policies and protocols. They will let you know what these are.
Honouring your loved one
You may briefly conduct karakia, poroporoakī and mihi at the funeral home, cemetery and/or urupā.
You may choose to livestream your time at the funeral home, cemetery and/or urupā to include
whānau and friends who were not in the same isolation bubble as the tūpāpaku.
Once we recover from this pandemic, your whānau may want to come together to honour your loved
one. If your whānau member was cremated, you may want to bury their ashes at a whānau urupā. If they were buried immediately, you may choose to hold a service at the burial grounds. These are only some of the ways you may choose to remember your lost loved one.
We encourage whānau to utilise the services of their Police Iwi Liaison Officers, their local ‘kaiwhakarite’ and their deceased loved one’s health providers.
Grieving is never easy. If you feel you are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.