New Zealand is home to many different cultures, religions, languages and ethnicities. Each one has different practices and beliefs when it comes to the way they treat those who have recently departed (the Māori word for this person is tūpāpaku).
They may spend more or less time with their tūpāpaku/deceased person. They may celebrate their life in public or gather to grieve behind closed doors. But what they share is a need to know that their loved one is treated with care and respect.
Kaitiaki, or guardianship, is how we see our role. For us it’s about taking care of each tūpāpaku/deceased person, and helping their whānau/family through the process in a simple, straightforward way, with the information they need at each step. To us, kaitiaki means appropriately and respectfully providing guardianship to the tūpāpaku/deceased person wherever we can.
We’re already working with Māori groups and iwi to create a way to provide guardians for the recently deceased while they’re in our care. Our aim is to provide kaitiaki in a way that supports all New Zealanders, regardless of their faith or culture.