Embalmer says Kiwis more 'touchy-feely' with dead bodies than other countries

A newly qualified embalmer says compared to other cultures, Kiwis can be quite hands-on with the dead.

Elise Wolfgram recently graduated top of her class for embalming, but has been working in the industry for some time now.

She makes the dead presentable to their families - painting nails, brushing hair and dressing them to remove evidence of the pain or trauma that brought them to her embalming table.

Speaking to Three's The Project, she said Kiwis are more "touchy-feely" with our dead than other nations.

"As opposed to sort of Americans and the British, they like to view and look, but not touch," she responded.

"New Zealanders… the first thing they'll do is go in and grab their hand and touch their hand - they'll hug them and kiss them, they'll have the kids up near the casket.

"We interact with our deceased in a way that's really, really tactile and very affectionate."