Bringing whānau home: The family making repatriation from Australia possible

“Tangihanga just cements me right here. This is our birthright, Tangihanga is a birthright for Māori.”

There are hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders living in Australia and a large portion of those are Māori.

For many Māori living overseas, being away from your homeland can bring up unique challenges when mourning loved ones or whānau.  

This is where the funeral home Te Awhina steps in to help.

Te Awhina is a whānau owned funeral service based in Brisbane that was founded by Juline Hetet in 2011. For her, Tangihanga is one way she feels Māori while living so far away from home and has taught her a lot about the needs of other Māori overseas. 

Part of the way Te Awhina supports grieving whānau is by offering a much cheaper service when it comes to repatriating family members home to Aotearoa to be buried. 

For sisters Iwa and Awhina Hetet, they’ve found working with their mother in the family business has helped them forge a strong sense of connection and mana when helping whānau Māori.

“We can still be Māori, we can still uphold our tikanga and we can be Māori in another land and return home.” 

This is part of our reo Māori series, Ohinga, created by Mahi Tahi Media, with funding from Te Māngai Pāho. Stay tuned for a new episode every week.

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