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0800 650 654 24/7 Victims Information Line

What you need to know

If someone close to you has been murdered you probably won't know what to expect. This page tells you things you may want to know straight away.

Your police victim liaison officer will be able to answer any questions you have, help you tell people about the death and put you in touch with specialist support agecies.

Identifying the person who has died

After police have gathered the evidence, the person who has died will be taken to a hospital mortuary where a specialist doctor, called a pathologist, will conduct a post mortem to establish the cause of death.

Before the post mortem can take place, the deceased must be identified by two people who knew them. They do not have to be the closest relatives of the deceased. Identification can sometimes be done using a video link.

Seeing the body

Deciding whether to see someone who has died is a difficult decision and it is normal to feel nervous or worried about seeing the body.

Sometimes you may not be able to see them until after the post mortem. This is because there might be important evidence on the clothes or body that needs to be collected.

Your police victim liaison officer will explain when you can see the body and whether you can touch them or not. Talk to your police victim liaison officer or staff at the mortuary if you and your family/whānau want to stay with the body.

Funeral arrangements

A funeral director can assist with funeral or tangi arrangements as well as give advice on how to obtain an interim death certificate. You can get financial assistance to help with the funeral costs.

You can find contact details for funeral directors on the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (external link) website or on the Independent Funeral Homes (external link) website.

You do not have to use a funeral director. The Department of Internal Affairs has information about how to arrange your own funeral.

Media attention

Homicides usually attract media attention. This can be confusing and distressing. The police have media liaison officers who can help you deal with the media.

For more information and practical tips, like appointing a family spokesperson, see Dealing with the media or call Victim Support on 0800 842 846.

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