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By Claire Turnham of  Only With Love


  1. Allow time to be with the tūpāpaku. Gather support from friends/family/whānau/community.

  2. Research your options and choices. You may like to use a checklist or a home funeral guide in the community to help navigate the process. Remember anyone in NZ can arrange a funeral and you don’t need to use a funeral director unless you choose to.

  3. If your person has died at home firstly remove any hospital equipment and create a clean space. Personalise the surroundings according to the wishes and cultural/ religious needs or beliefs. You may choose to maintain connection by using rituals, music, candles, oils or following your tikanga.

  4. Prepare the body by washing and dressing. Choose an effective cooling resource to slow down the natural changes which occur after death such as Manaaki Mats or Atamira Matao.

  5. Legal requirements: Before burial or cremation. Filing of paperwork as per the flowchart: Obtain Certificate Of Medical Practitioner, a Permission to Cremate and an Application For Cremation. Obtain a Notification of death for registration form (BDM28). Obtain Medical certificate of cause of death (HP4720) or Medical certificate of causes of fetal/neonatal death (HP4721) or Coroners authorisation for release.

  6. Arrange the tangi/funeral:  A whānau inspired ceremony may be held at marae, family home or other place of significance.  Follow your own community process. Decide whether you wish to use a celebrant, religious leader or kaumatua to lead a ceremony and/or prepare your speakers. Write Eulogy. Weave the Whāriki or build or decorate the coffin or shroud. Choose the burial or cremation options available and arrange catering and/or any requirements to support the grieving. Collect photos or taonga and design an order of service if you wish to honour the person.

  7. Final preparations and filing of paperwork as per the flowchart: On day of funeral Transfer body to shroud or coffin. Organise transport to burial ground or crematorium. Family may choose to be pall bearers and be involved in the creation of the ceremony. If the person is being buried, lower the body, use family bearers and fill in grave if appropriate. If being cremated contact the crematorium to arrange the details and follow their requirements. You may choose an unassisted or direct cremation at the crematorium and it may be possible to witness.

  8. Within 3 days of burial/cremation complete the notification of death for registration (BDM28). Post BDM28 to Births, Deaths and Marriages, Wgton. Post HP4720, HP4721.


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