The Māori Affairs Select Committee (the Committee) invite submission on the Inquiry into whānau access to and management of Tūpāpaku.
The purpose of this inquiry is to consider any legislative and/or regulatory changes to ensure best practice for whānau to access and make decisions over the Tūpāpaku of whānau members immediately after death until burial. The inquiry should establish that best practice is followed nationally in a consistent way. This may include rights to view and remain with the body while held in a hospital, by a pathologist, police or funeral director; the relative authority of pathologists and coroners to release Tūpāpaku to whānau; acknowledging tikanga Māori including traditional treatments for Tūpāpaku in lieu of embalming; and other matters as appropriate.
We may also consider the adequacy of the law concerning the return of body parts to whānau and organ donations but we are aware that there has been significant work in these areas already.
We note that our inquiry is not restricted to Māori but to all New Zealanders who have an interest in these issues. There are other cultures in NZ with funeral practices that may be relevant to this inquiry and we welcome those submissions.
Terms of reference:
To inquire into the issue of whānau access to and management of Tūpāpaku, the Māori Affairs Committee will:
• Investigate the current powers and practice of pathologists, coroners, police and funeral directors and other relevant agencies in allowing, or not, whānau to view and/or remain with Tūpāpaku.
• Investigate the relevant powers and practice of pathologists, coroners, police and funeral directors and other relevant agencies to release Tūpāpaku into whānau custody, and how these can be improved to allow more timely release.
• Investigate what resources and personnel are available to relevant agencies and services, including; cultural guidelines, the role of Police iwi liaison officers and the practical availability of pathologists and coroners.
• Investigate the relevant tikanga Māori and legal requirements in relation to the preservation and management of Tūpāpaku and funeral practices, including burial and cremation practices and where this can happen.
• Investigate guidelines and practices of how relevant agencies communicate with whānau at all stages, and how this can be improved to ensure whānau know their rights and have up to date and full information about the relevant processes.
• Investigate the experiences of whānau in having Tūpāpaku returned to Aotearoa where a whānau member has died overseas, particularly Australia, as well as other matters relating to coronial practices and the transportation of Tūpāpaku.
• We intend to report on any policy, legislative or regulatory changes that arise from this inquiry.
Feedback due: Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org by 17 June 2016