Pacific Islanders should focus on buying food and paying bills as the recession deepens and spend less on funerals, Porirua's deputy mayor says.
Many Pacific Islanders use an expensive funeral to show respect. But Litea Ah Hoi says the bills they are faced with can cripple extended families for many years.
The deputy mayor says when her mother died, her family opted for a $700 casket and avoided traditional giving.
But she says that took some negotiation with her uncles, who considered the funeral to be sub-standard.
The Reverend Robert Robati Mani, of the Pacific Island Presbyterian Church in Otara, says a debate over funeral costs is long overdue.