Grieving whānau speak out against tangihanga restrictions
Matariki is a time for Māori to remember loved ones who have passed since the appearance of the last star cluster, marking the end of one lunar year and the beginning of another.
This year, the rise of Matariki is particularly poignant. Due to the restrictions put in place by the Ministry of Health throughout the COVID-19 response, many whānau were unable to hold tangihanga - Māori traditional funeral service - to farewell their loved ones.
Tangihanga, typically held on a marae, is integral to traditional Māori culture. It allows friends and whānau to gather, visit the deceased, pay their respects, and honour their life with speeches and songs.
For the Maxwell whānau, the restrictions implemented to combat COVID-19 were an added burden at an already heartwrenching time. Henry Maurice Rangi Maxwell died on May 10, aged 59.
"It's only been two months, so that bond hasn't been broken," daughter Renae Savage told The Hui, in an exclusive story for Sunday's Matariki special.
Two months on from the loss of the beloved father of eight and grandfather to 17 mokopuna, the Maxwell whānau are hoping their story will ensure greater consideration will be given to tikanga tangihanga in times of crisis.