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NGĀ POU HERENGA:
THE FUNERAL GUIDES' COLLECTIVE
Eastern Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Rauti mai, piki mai, kake mai ki tenei aho mātua e pa ana ki Ngā Pou Herenga.
Haere mai, nau mai, whakatau mai.
Welcome to this website.
Whatungarongaro te tāngata
Toitu te whenua.
People will perish
but the land will remain.
HE KARAKIA WHAKA-A-IO
A spiritual, calming karakia
for a time of loss and grief.
Mai e te tipua
Mai e te tawhito
Mai e te kāhui o ngā ariki
Mai e tawhiwhi atu ki ngā atua
Oi ka tākina te mauri
Ko te mauri i ahu noa mai
Ki runga ki wēnei taura
Ki runga ki wēnei tauira
Kia tau te mauri ki runga ki wēnei tama
He tukunā nō te whaiorooro o
Tāne te Waiora
Tēnei te matatau kia eke
Whakatū tārewa ki te rangi
Uhi, wero, tau mai te mauri
Haumi e, ui e, tāiki e
Our journey to explore more traditional funeral practices began with this well attended Virtual Eastern Bay Villages meeting in July 2019.
We support choice: providing guidance on family led, affordable and eco-friendly funerals/tangihanga.
We are based in the Eastern Bay of Plenty of Aotearoa/New Zealand and were set up by the community development organisation, Virtual Eastern Bay Villages.
Death touches all dimensions of human experience. It has profound cultural, spiritual, economic, legal, and social significance in communities and among iwi and hapū. After death care should be meaningful and healing.
Our mission is to support whānau at a time of death in ways that respect people’s wishes and dignity, are environmentally sustainable and affordable, and respond to diverse and changing needs and values in our society. This website aims to educate and empower whānau to reclaim their key role in after-death care. Informed communities know what to do when one of their own dies.
The reasons we are doing this work
1. Rising costs
The cost of traditional funeral services keeps rising. The high business overheads (premises, full time staff) of regular funeral services do not allow for low-cost solutions. Families can be stressed by funeral debt that can take years to pay off.
In the Eastern Bay of Plenty and other areas, many people are reclaiming traditional rites around death and dying. Māori weave whāriki and make puhirere (plinths) and taupoki and the Whakatāne Menzshed makes low-cost traditional coffins.
We want everyone to know they have the choice to keep their loved one at home after death and care for the body/tūpāpaku themselves. Less than 100 years ago this was common practice. The information in this website can prepare people to do this themselves. However, much of the knowledge of ways to provide this loving care of people after death has been lost over the past three generations, so families may prefer to have a funeral guide to support them. There is a growing number of funeral guides practising in many districts in Aotearoa. Our funeral guides/pou herenga will be available in 2023 to provide this support in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
3. Environmental sustainability
Embalming is now banned in some European countries because of its effect on the health of embalmers and pollution of soils and ground water. Our funeral guides will not provide an embalming service. Embalming is rarely necessary, provided the body is kept cool, at a temperature of 2-5 degrees Celsius. This can easily be done with the use of ice packs or a Cold Plate, or Atamira Matao underneath a coffin.
There are now 22 natural burial cemeteries in Aotearoa, and more are being developed every year. In these, instead of permanent memorials, trees are planted on gravesites. People buried there must not be embalmed because of the chemical pollution. Details on the Natural Burial site.
Would you like to keep in touch as our work and that of the national funeral guides movement progresses?
Then email us to go on our email tree.
Our plans for the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Whānau do not need to use the services of a funeral director. With the information and links on this site you can organise a funeral yourself. We are also sharing knowledge and skills and providing training for funeral guides/ngā pou herenga. They will provide information to whānau, who would like support to prepare the body/tūpāpaku of their loved one. They can also ensure compliance with administrative, legal and medical obligations, talk families through options, and work behind the scenes to ensure things run smoothly.
Our organisation is investing in the resources and equipment needed: gurneys, Cold Plates/Atamira Matao and other items to be available for hire. We will keep costs low through having only an online presence, meeting people in their homes, at marae, and churches.
Changing times, changing legislation
The Ministry of Health is preparing new legislation and regulation for burial and cremation. It is important that these changes do not impinge on the work of funeral guides, and the right of whānau to bury their own without a funeral director or guide. Until now the Ministry process has yet to show sufficient consultation with Māori. To find out more about our submissions and concerns go to this page.
Many thanks to our funders who have supported us to set up
Te Muka Rau
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