Māori Funeral Traditions & Rituals

Māori funeral traditions and rituals can be difficult to understand when there is so much to learn during the grieving period.

Remembrance Funerals understand that it can be a bit overwhelming when these rituals seem foreign to you, we don’t expect you to learn them all.

Below we have outlined the Māori funeral traditions and rituals that you should know and understand.

Common Māori funeral rituals & how you fit in

Māori funerals take place over a period of 3 days or more to mourn and grieve the passing of a loved one. This is commonly known as a ‘Tangi’. Death is a very important part of Māori culture making the rituals performed at Māori funerals an important part of their identity.

  • Firstly you’ll be welcomed on to the marae where the funeral is being held. This is a way to bring you into their ‘home’ and explain that they’ll take care of you while you’re there
  • The loved one will be displayed with the casket open. This is an important part of the funeral as their spirit is believed to still be amongst everyone. The casket will be near the back wall of the wharenui where you will go to say your goodbyes.
  • The bereaved family are not to do anything during the Tangi. This is an important Māori ritual as they are there to mourn the death of their loved one.
  • Lastly, the loved ones body will never be left by itself. No matter what, someone from the family will always be sitting or sleeping beside the casket.

Above all, it is a time of mourning. If you’re a guest all you have to do is talk to the family and share stories of the deceased. Be respectful and lend a hand if needed.

For any advice you may need, please contact us.