Chapter 16
The funeral sector

Cemetery managers and employees

16.37In Issues Paper 34, we did not include cemetery managers and employees in the discussion of the need for regulation of the people operating in this industry. Generally, the role of cemetery managers was discussed from the perspective of the management of cemeteries. In Chapter 12, we proposed a new set of obligations on cemetery managers in relation to the management of cemeteries.

16.38However, it has come to our notice that some cemetery employees do in fact have a role in relation to the deceased body, albeit a limited role. While the bereaved family will often be present at the grave site as the coffin is lowered into the ground, they will normally leave the site before the grave is filled in. In theory, this means that some of the issues we discuss below in relation to behaviour in respect of the deceased body may be relevant to cemetery employees.

16.39There are currently no statutory or regulatory provisions specifically controlling the behaviour of cemetery employees in relation to dead bodies, except the general provisions in the Crimes Act not to improperly or indecently interfere with or offer an indignity to a human body or human remains.310 Cemetery managers may join the NZCCC, which will be developing standards for the operation of cemeteries. Those provisions may include the handling of bodies. The Primary Industry Training Organisation currently offers a qualification in cemetery management, which includes the legal obligations on cemetery managers.
310Crimes Act, s 150.