Story: Tangihanga – death customs

Tūpāpaku

Tūpāpaku

This mourning scene was recorded in the 1800s by Louis Auguste de Sainson. While it is unlikely that parts of the ritual shown actually occurred, it accurately depicts the manner in which a tūpāpaku (body) would be trussed into a sitting position during a tangihanga. Mourners addressed the dead person as though they were still there listening.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-327-004
Hand-coloured engraving by Louis Auguste de Sainson

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins, 'Tangihanga – death customs - Traditional preparations for tangihanga', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/28780/tupapaku (accessed 25 May 2019)

Story by Rawinia Higgins, published 5 May 2011