Sudden Death Protocol agreement signed

The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB), Whanganui Police, Whanganui iwi (Te Runanga o Tupoho) and the Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority have signed a formal Sudden Death Protocol agreement.

The four parties came together on Friday, September 2 to sign the agreement which everyone involved said was a significant step forward for Maori, the WDHB and the police.

The agreement sets out the roles and expectations in the management of tupapaku (a deceased person) while providing a framework to help manage the process.

The protocol is designed to enhance communication between the Whanganui Police and the WDHB specific to tikanga that surrounds the care and treatment of tupapaku and associated cultural and spiritual practices,” says Director Maori Health Gilbert Taurua.

“It sets out our expectations in the use of Whare Whakatau Mate (the building sited next to the Wanganui Hospital mortuary) for the placement of tupapaku while awaiting post mortems or transfers.

 “The signing marks a significant milestone in the consultation that’s taken place between key stakeholders including Maori. We would like to acknowledge both the coroner and oolice in supporting this process.”

Mr Taurua also acknowledged the Whanganui iwi (Te Runanga o Tupoho) and Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority who he says, when needed, work with the WDHB in the management of tupapaku.

The Sudden Death Protocol has been circulated to stakeholders including Whanganui funeral directors. It will be placed on the WDHB website this week for members of the public to access.

WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson, Wanganui police commander Duncan McLeod, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority chair Adrian Rurawhe, kaumatua John Maihi and WDHB Kaiwhakahaere/Coordinator Maori Health.