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Henare calls for more respect over body-napping

HonTau Henare MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

13 December 2007

Henare calls for more respect over body-napping

National’s Maori Affairs spokesman, Tau Henare, is calling for both Maori and Pakeha to have more respect for each other’s cultural issues.

“The recent body-napping incidents have highlighted a lack of respect for the wishes of families, and of individual funeral protocols.

“Inter-cultural marriages mean both Maori and Pakeha must work together to find a solution that does not add to the heartbreak of grieving families.

“If a person was happy being part of a Pakeha community while alive, that is where that person should stay.

“While inter-tribal body-napping by stealth was an old, acceptable part of the tangi process, subjecting others to this custom when they have no cultural knowledge or experience is just plain bullying.

“I acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for both Maori and Pakeha, however, it is one that needs a resolution.

“In times past, Maori would have had people guarding a body day and night because an unguarded body was an invitation to take it.

“But times have changed. I call on both Maori and Pakeha to respect each other’s wishes, to let grieving families make the decisions they think are best for their loved ones, and for the deceased to be farewelled with dignity, not headlines.”


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