Updated 13 May 2020
From 11:59pm on 13 May, New Zealand will be at Alert Level 2. This means changes to funerals and tangihanga.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, people should aim to have small gatherings of up to 10 people for public funerals and tangihanga while New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.
Groups of 10 can rotate through a venue for a funeral or tangihanga. However, funerals and tangihanga with between 11 and 50 people can happen if the funeral director (Find a FDANZ Funeral Director here) submits a registration of intended service form to the Ministry of Health.
For the service to be approved it must meet the following requirements:
- The venue (including funeral homes, churches, marae, community halls, mosques) must have a Health & Safety plan that covers personal hygiene and infection prevention and control measures which are in place.
- The Health & Safety plan is displayed and communication to all attendees.
- The gathering has no more than 50 people present at any one time. These people are cohorted together for the duration of the service and need to be kept separate from the next set of people using the facility. Cohorts of 50 cannot intermingle in foyers or car parks.
- The length of the gathering is no longer than 2 hours.
- Detailed records for the purposes of contact tracing must be collected from attendees, including name, address, time of visit, email etc.
- There is provision in place to hold contact tracing information for up to 1 month post the service.
- Seating or standing areas should be allocated to ensure that idenitified groups of friends and whanau are able to maintain 1 metre distance from each other at all times and to limit the extent of intermingling among the wider group of attendees.
- Hand hygiene is strictly adhered to, with hand sanitizer available to all attendees.
- The serving of food and drink is permitted after the service provided the venue can meet the physical distancing and hygiene requirement for food preparation and serving. This includes groupings of no more than 10 people eating together, food should be served as individual portions and not from a buffet, and no alcohol is served or consumed on the premises.
The Ministry of Health will be issuing further information on what to do during Alert Levels 2 and 1 over the coming weeks on their website here
In this unprecedented national situation, not being able to have a funeral, tangi or farewell gathering for a loved one or friend is extremely distressing and painful. It seems all wrong. However, until such time as restrictions are lifted and gatherings are possible again, it’s unfortunately part of the new normal in New Zealand.
This lockdown time will eventually pass, but in the meantime your Funeral Director can let you know about the options available for the care of your loved one right now. They can also discuss with you options for gatherings to honour the person’s life at a later date.
Although a lot is out of your control right now, there are still some things you could choose to do to honour and farewell your loved one or friend while you are in isolation. Some of the following ideas might be helpful at this time.
Remember, everyone is different, and we are all isolated in different circumstances right now.
Download the FDANZ COVID-19 Grief Resource and adapt the ideas as you need to.
There are also many organisations that offer help and support for grief and trauma ranging from resources, counselling and support groups. Contact details for these organisations here.