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Viewing Room Named and Mortuary Blessed

Monday 22 November 2004
Media Statement

Viewing Room Named and Mortuary Blessed

Te Rau Aroha is the new name for the Gisborne Hospital viewing room which will be officially opened tomorrow [Tuesday 23 November] in a ceremony involving local clergy and tangata whenua.

Te Rau Aroha provides a comfortable and safe place for family and friends to gather in Gisborne Hospital following the death of a loved one.

“We have named it Te Rau Aroha as the name represents a family or whanau in grieving following the loss of a cherished part of the family,” said Gisborne Hospital Chaplain Reverend Canon Bruce White.

“The phrase Te Rau Aroha suggests a significant branch has been lost from a tree.”

As well as the ceremony to officially name the viewing room, Gisborne Hospital’s mortuary will be blessed on Tuesday 23 November.

The blessing will be attended by local clergy representing a number of denominations and religions. Tangata whenua will also be present during the blessing.

Chaplain Bruce White said it was important a number of religions and people were represented.

“When people are part of a faith their minister or church leader plays an important role in the process of death and what happens after. The mortuary is a community facility and therefore it is appropriate religions based in this community be involved in the blessing.”

During the blessing clergy will focus on “reclaiming” the mortuary following recent extensive refurbishments.

“Clergy will pray for a comforting atmosphere in the facility so families are supported through their grief. Clergy will also pray for staff to be able to find truth and answers in their work whilst maintaining people’s dignity and respect.”

Tuesday’s ceremonies open the way for the re-introduction of mortuary services at Gisborne Hospital.

Services are expected to resume from early 2005 and Pathologist Dr Ros Iversen said this is reassuring news for many local families.

“While we have been fortunate to have access to the Medlab Bay of Plenty autopsy service, separation from a body while it is transferred out of the district has been upsetting for some families.”

“With autopsy services provided locally the whole process will be smoother for families and whanau dealing with the grief associated with losing a loved one.”

Dr Iversen said autopsies have not been performed at Gisborne Hospital since 1999 as it had to upgrade its facilities to comply with Occupational, Safety and Health regulations.

“The upgrade has ensured those regulations are met.”

Clinical Support Services Manager Wilhelmina Mentz said Gisborne Hospital’s mortuary upgrade coincides with the availability of Dr Iversen to perform autopsies.

Following the departure of Gisborne Hospital’s only pathologist in 1999 an international shortage of pathologists meant a period of time elapsed before Tairawhiti District Health secured the employment of Dr Iversen.

“We are very pleased to have Dr Iversen on board and have been able to include her input into the upgrade of the mortuary.”

Dr Iversen said the mortuary upgrade includes installation of air conditioning, new flooring, ceiling and lighting.

Dr Iversen said local consultation was done with Evans Funeral Services, Gisborne Coroner Allan Hall, and Maori prior to the mortuary upgrade.

The coroner will still access some autopsy services in Tauranga if the Gisborne pathologist is not available.

Anyone wishing to attend the naming ceremony for Te Rau Aroha should be gathered in Gisborne Hospital’s chapel on Tuesday morning by 9.15am.

ENDS

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