21 Nov 2012

Ash saves cash for some

6:38 am on 21 November 2012

High costs of repatriating bodies to New Zealand is causing some Maori in Australia to choose cremations which are less expensive, but for some people go against tikanga.

Maori funeral director Ashley Bergh of Brisbane says bringing a deceased relative back home can cost between $5000 and $10,000.

He and his wife have been running Polynesian Funerals for more than 20 years dealing with Maori and Pacific whanau, and understand the cultural and spiritual issues that play a part in tangihanga (funerals).

Mr Bergh says come Maori families are now looking at more practical solutions.

He says whanau find it easier to bring their loved ones ashes back because cremation is a more affordable option, and they can carry urns in their hand baggage instead of having to pay extra money to bring a body back.

For some Maori families their tribal tikanga dictates that their dead should be buried and returned whole to papatuanuku or "mother earth".