Some of Population Health’s responsibilities under burial and cremation legislation include:
Population Health works with territorial local authorities (e.g. city and district councils), burial ground owners and funeral directors to carry out its functions under the burial and cremation legislation.
Applications for disinterment must be in writing and are usually made by:
Applications should be submitted to Population Health who will assess the application and forward the application to the Ministry of Health, together with a report and recommendations.
Download Application and Guidelines forms here(external link)
Normal procedure is for the funeral director, in the country where death has occurred, to consign the body to a funeral director designated by the relatives of the deceased.
The New Zealand funeral director should obtain the details of requirements imposed by the country of destination. Sometimes the medical officer of health is requested to provide additional certification relating to the deceased.
If a new crematorium is to be built, or an existing premise reconstructed or adapted to be used as a crematorium, the following have to be submitted for approval to the Ministry of Health before work is commenced:
Applicants should consult with a health protection officer as early as practicable, to enable a report to be submitted at the same time as the other information for the Ministry of Health.
Upon application for closure of a cemetery or burial ground, the Minister of Health may direct that a cemetery or burial ground be closed.
Population Health will undertake a full investigation in the facts surrounding an alleged or suspected unlawful burial, when advised. The findings of this investigation (including recommendations) will be reported to the Ministry of Health.
On occasions, individuals may wish to be buried on private land or other than in a cemetery or burial ground. For a burial in a special place, the applicant must show exceptional circumstances, which make the burial of that body in that place particularly appropriate. Each application is determined on its merits.
Burial at sea is an authorised method of disposing of a body, and controls apply. The person in charge of the burial must ensure that all requirements have been met before proceeding with the burial. Approval for burial at sea will depend on the intended burial site.