What we do

Communio's Kaupapa is to improve services for Tūpāpaku (deceased person) and whānau (family) who come under the Coroner’s jurisdiction by having a focus on Tikanga Māori. On behalf of the Ministry of Justice we provide coronial support services across Aotearoa including collecting and holding the Tūpāpaku, providing viewing services, and returning tissue. In addition, we conduct post-mortem investigations at Wellington, Waikato, Rotorua, Nelson and Dunedin mortuaries when requested by the Coroner.

Who we look after

Our team of qualified pathologists provides post mortem services around New Zealand, where we operate out of mortuary facilities at these main public hospitals:

  • Waikato Hospital
  • Rotorua Hospital
  • Wellington Hospital
  • Nelson Hospital
  • Dunedin Hospital

While what we do varies according to the mortuary, overall we’re responsible for the pathologists, their duties, compliance and behaviour. Our technicians may prepare the tūpāpaku/deceased person for viewing by loved ones. We also look after personal effects, tissue return, and treat every tūpāpaku/deceased person with respect and care for the time they are with us.

The Coronial Support Journey

The National Initial Investigation Office (NIIO) notifies us about an incident that’s resulted in a death. Along with information about the event, this will include police contact details and when we can collect the tūpāpaku/deceased person.

Our transport provider contacts the police attending officer at the site of the death, to confirm a collection time.

The police ensure that the tūpāpaku/deceased person is accessible at the site. If not, we’ll agree on a better location together. In high risk cases, police decontaminate the tūpāpaku/deceased person, or let the transport provider know about any precautions they need to take.

At the site, our transport provider labels each tūpāpaku/deceased person with the coronial ID tag and places them in a Communio-approved body bag. They check that police have completed the Verification of Death Certificate

Our transport provider may also transport the tūpāpaku’s/deceased person’s personal effects, such as jewellery, while police manage other property, like hand bags and wallets.

They then transport the tūpāpaku/deceased person from the site to a facility such as a mortuary, so the body can be examined. They will also handover the appropriate paperwork.

A Communio pathologist may complete a post mortem investigation – as directed by the Coroner – and also provide both provisional and final post mortem examination reports for the Coroner.

From here on you will be working with your choice of funeral director and grief support service providers.