Law Commission to review burial and cremation laws

By Aroha Treacher

The Law Commission is reviewing NZ's current burial and cremation laws for the first time in 50 years.

This comes after the cultural clashes that arose over whether the final resting place of James Takamore should have been decided by his iwi in Tūhoe or by his partner who lived in Christchurch with him for 20 years.

In 2007, the  body of James Takamore was removed from Christchurch by extended family members and buried in the Bay of Plenty. 

The embroilment prompted the Law Commission to look at resolutions for disputes like this.

It's the biggest overhaul of NZ's burial laws in 50 years, and could see cemeteries popping up on private land all over the country.

With the average price of a funeral being around $6500, it can get expensive for grieving families, but suggestions that funeral services should be licensed might not provide any financial relief.

Running out of space in a Māori cemetery is a reality, leaving some marae to make the hard decision of who they let in, but here at Te Pakiaka Urupa in Whakatū, Hastings, they are buried three-deep.

The Law Commission is holding a series of public consultation meetings around the country this month, and submissions are encouraged, with a cut-off date set for December 20.