Death, Funerals, Burial and Cremation: a Review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Related Legislation

Closed 31 Oct 2020

Opened 14 Nov 2019

Results updated 8 Jun 2023

A summary of submissions has now been published for this consultation.

Based on the consultation, Manatū Hauora is now reassessing its policy work in this area.


This consultation document sets out a range of options for modernising the legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand, including the Burial and Cremation Act 1964, Cremation Regulations 1973 and the Health (Burial) Regulations 1946.

Urupā (Māori burial grounds), registration of mortuaries, burial at sea and international transportation of bodies are out of scope of this review.

The Ministry of Health is seeking feedback on the options from industry and other interested stakeholders, including the general public. This consultation will help inform the development of a modern, fit-for-purpose legislation for death, burial, cremation and funerals.

Given the range and complexity of the issues involved in updating the legislation, this consultation document is split into five sections:

  1. Death certification and auditing
  2. Regulation of the funeral services sector
  3. Burial and cemetery management
  4. Cremation regulations and the medical referee system
  5. New methods of body disposal.

Each section proposes a range of options to modernise the law in relation to the topic. The Ministry has indicated its preferred option in each section. We now want to seek the views of stakeholders to inform further policy development.

Consultation document

Submissions have been extended until Saturday, 31 October 2020, and we will continue to review the situation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Members of the public
  • Health sector
  • Funeral service sector


  • Burial and cremation