Footage of a COVID-affected Auckland funeral has offered a glimpse at the heart-wrenching reality of farewelling a loved one in the midst of an alert level 4 lockdown.
The video, posted to Facebook by Tipene Funerals, shows a hearse driving into Auckland's Manukau Memorial Gardens as a woman - the deceased's grieving daughter - stands outside.
The gates of the cemetery are closed on her by staff as she mourns her loss, calling after her mother.
"We love you mama! Ofa atu mama! I'm sorry I can't be there with you," she cries. The hand of a funeral director can be seen waving back at her from the hearse, acknowledging her pain.
At COVID-19 alert level 4, gathering for funerals and tangihanga is not permitted - including for burials, cremations, memorial services, funeral wakes, processions or receptions.
Tipene Funerals says the clip shows the difficult realities of farewelling loved ones under these strict lockdown conditions.
"We continue to face these challenging moments," they wrote on Facebook.
"Whilst these moments are very pulling (sic), we are grateful to the [family] for entrusting us to farewell their 'Nena' with honour and dignity on their behalf."
Only registered funeral directors can handle tūpāpaku (the deceased) at level 4. Families are not allowed to carry out burials, cremations or transportation without one.
At alert level 3 the rules are relaxed slightly, with groups of up to 10 people allowed to attend funerals and tangihanga.
The Ministry of Health says the strict level 4 rules are in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
"We must protect people's health and ensure our health system can look after those who become sick," the ministry website reads.
"Bereaved families and whānau from all cultures and backgrounds will find this time challenging. This makes it even more important to show each other kindness and caring, manaakitanga and aroha."