Hawke's Bay iwi leader calls for tangi costs to be funded by Government for some Māori

Source: 1News

A Hawke's Bay iwi leader is calling for more funding for bereaved families to help pay for tangihanga.

It's being suggested superannuation money could be put towards funeral costs. 

Ngahiwi Tomoana of Ngāti Kahungunu wants funeral costs covered by the Government for all Māori who die after 55, and before they can claim superannuation at 65.

“The straight expenses of the funeral will set back the next generation or the whānau back five to 10 years to pay that off," Tomoana told 1 NEWS. 

Hastings funeral director Noel Morris says the cost of a family's account after the funeral is a "shock" for many. 

His funeral home offers discounted rates to local iwi members, but some still turn to loans.

He says he knows of families who have had to sell items just to come up with a deposit. 

"We try to tailor the immediate funeral needs rather than get something that’s far too expensive."

Some Government help does already exist. Families can access around $2000 from the Ministry of Social Development to help cover funerals bills.

While private super and KiwSaver are paid out when a loved one passes, tax expert Mark Keating believes the idea of early access has merit too. 

But he says it would have to apply to everyone. 

"It's more a matter of finding a principal of fairness so people who have paid into a superannuation system all their life get to enjoy some form of return for their family."