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Delano Murray (Ngāti Kurī)

Descended from a long line of undertakers, it’s no surprise that it was tangi that brought Delano Murray (Ngāti Kurī) to Heretaunga, where he’s a funeral director for Simplicity Funerals and studying Toi Paematua Level 5 in raranga with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

“I'm a fourth generation undertaker and over the years we've moved from Te Hāpua to Kaitaia to Auckland to Hamilton - where I spent most of my life - and then came down here 10 years ago because the whānau needed a lot of help in terms of education and what the options are, what do funeral homes actually do, all that transparency kind of stuff,” he says.

Delano says he noticed some people in Hastings using woven caskets, but they were hard to come by.

“You really need to know someone to get one of those, or pay a big price to buy it, so that kind of piqued my interest in learning how to do that. And then I was cleaning out my friends yard and he had a lot of harakeke and I was online looking up the tikanga behind it and it came up with the raranga course so I applied.”

He’s loved his experience studying with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and isn’t shy about encouraging others to enrol. Rather than make things for friends and whānau, he suggests they enrol themselves and learn how.

He firmly believes he is lucky to have Karmen Thomson as his kaiako to mentor and guide him.

“Her skill set is above and beyond excellence and she's a role model for me every day.”

With his new raranga skills, Delano intends putting them to use in the industry he knows so well. In his experience, he believes whānau can learn a lot by being involved in preparing a casket for a loved one.

“Making it together as a whānau, prepping it together, finishing everything off, transferring them in and learning the tikanga behind the whole thing. And it's also environmentally friendly and it's how we used to do things anyway.”

Ultimately he’d like to build a sustainable business making caskets and showing others how to make them too.

“First, I’ve got to learn how to do it, that's the main thing, and then look at teaching other people so it's more economical for whānau. So, I think my main focus would be on caskets, but I’ll always do kete. I love kete.,” he says.

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Published On: 06 June 2024

Article By: Comms Team

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