Culture & Traditions
At Pacific Family Funerals we understand that for the Maori people, Tangihanga, (the time of mourning) is an integral part of the grieving process. It usually lasts three days and is customarily held at the whare tangi or at the family home. Support for the whanau pani (bereaved family) is fundamental to this mourning process.
Traditionally a Tangihanga is a time for family and friends to gather and spend time with the whanau pani, to grieve with them and to support them through their time of sadness. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy and a Tangihanga gives people the chance to talk, to cry, to laugh and share stories and reminisces. This is an important part of the grieving process. A Tangihanga arranged for the family by Moko Kamira usually begins with a 'calling home' in honour of the bereaved family"s deep connection to their homeland.
At the end of the three day ceremony sometimes a Po Whakangakau, or Po Whakamutunga is held. This is a special night of performance, singing, storytelling, jokes and often laughter. The traditional purpose of the Po is to brighten the spirits of the whanau pani - an acknowledgement that the coming weeks will be difficult.
Tangihanga not only provides a space to grieve it is a celebration of life. It is a way of saying goodbye to our loved ones before they join their Tupuna (Ancestors) in the spirit world.
Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, The Cook Islands & Nuie (Pacifika) have their own unique customs associated with grief and mourning. At Pacific Family Funerals we understand and respect the deep faith of the Polynesian People and offer to families a ceremony which is as close to island traditions as possible.