Maori Spiritual Beliefs and Attitudes Towards Organ Donation
New Zealand Bioethics Journal 2003 February; 4(1): 31-35
Organ transplantation is widely agreed to be beneficial to health. Many transplantations involve donation from the deceased. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, Maori both donate and receive proportionally fewer organs than non-Maori. This paper seeks illumination of this fact in unique Maori spiritual beliefs. These spiritual beliefs are not held by all Maori, and their role in an individual's life may vary, nonetheless they constitute a living tradition. Because cadaveric donation involves removal of organs from the dead person as soon after death as possible, considerations arise about customary rules and observances and the movement between the realm of the living and the dead. This may raise concerns for donors, recipients, and their respective whanau (extended family). In some cases, these concerns may form a consideration against donating posthumously.
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