Te Kahu O Taonui Signal Disappointment In Handling Of Tangihanga Policy

Wednesday, 13 May 2020, 4:14 pm
Press Release: Te Kahu o Taonui

The Government is making a major statement this election year by their continued stance to restrict numbers of grieving families attending tangihanga, as the country sets to move into Alert Level 2 at midnight tonight, says Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua, Dame Naida Glavish.

Since official Ministry of Health guidelines were released on 30 March, the government has been harsh in its approach in prohibiting whānau attending tangihanga. Ngāti Kahu Chair Dr Margaret Mutu identified the approach the government has taken to tangihanga as “cold and callous and not without reproach”.

Many isolated Māori communities throughout the country have been pivotal in their own rally to restrict the pandemic spread through border controls, focussed strategies and the provision of food, water and care. For three weeks straight, there have been no confirmed cases in Te Tai Tokerau which speaks to the vigilance of communities and iwi. Dame Naida says that is “because as Iwi we know how to take care of ourselves and our whānau.

The government has also been condemned by national advocacy group Te Rōpu Whakakaupapa Urutā for their lack of applying valuable consultation provided by Māori on tangihanga restrictions. Businesses across the country are about to open to the public for groups of up to 100 such as bars, cinemas, gyms, schools, and restaurants yet the question lingers why are severe restrictions that were imposed on grieving NZ families in Level 3 expected to continue?

Glavish adds, “It\’s disappointing that the Government open the doors to what is important to them, however when it comes to what is important to Māori such as upholding our own tikanga, we are left out, can Māori not be trusted to develop our own plans and manage ourselves?

Rikki Solomon (Ngāti Kahu) Funeral Director of NZ Mortuary services says “this tangihanga policy is a disaster and has pushed the bounds too far for whānau”.

Pandemic Response Chair Harry Burkhardt concludes that: “Taitokerau Iwi continues to be led by the needs of their Uri. As whānau, they need to be trusted and supported to grieve for their loved ones through the practice of our age old tikanga. The process of tangihanga is an essential cultural activity for our collective wellbeing as indigenous people”.

Te Kahu o Taonui urge the Government to reconsider their position on this policy matter with urgency.

Signed Iwi Chairs:
Harry Burkhardt (Ngāti Kuri), Rick Witana (Te Aupōuri), Haami Piripi (Te Rarawa), Wallace Rivers (Ngāi Tākoko) Margaret Mutu (Ngāti Kahu), Roger Kīngi (Kahukuraariki), Murray Moses (Whaingaroa) Mere Mangu (Ngāpuhi) Haydn Edmonds (Ngāti Wai) Naida Glavish (Ngāti Whātua).

Te Kahu o Taonui is a Northland Collective of Iwi Chairs. They will be releasing a series of regular statements on issues of importance to Taitokerau to highlight areas of concern impacting their respective communities.

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