November 09, 2021
Breath of life right to the grave
The End of Life Choice Act is now law, but a Taitokerau leader says there’s a lot of talking still needed for Māori to come to terms with the change.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua co-chair Dame Naida Glavish, who’s the chief tikanga advisor for the Auckland and Waitematā DHBs, says it’s an option for people with a terminal illness likely to end their life within six months.
Only the patient can raise it as topic for discussion, and only doctors with the appropriate registration can assist.
She says the process can make family feel left out, and challenges some firmly held tikanga.
“In Te Taitokerau, we hongi tūpāpaku, and that hongi is to defy death. We will give our breath even to tūpāpaku right to the grave,” she says.
Dame Naida Glavish says consultation with Māori on the law was minimal compared with the extensive discussion that went on over the legal framework of organ donation.