Rotorua funeral directors say grieving families are adjusting well to the new rules for funerals and tangihanga, although matching gathering limits to venue sizes is proving difficult at times.
Under the red setting on the new traffic light framework system, the gathering limit is set at up to 100 people, where staff and whanau decide vaccine passes are required.
If a venue chooses not to follow the vaccine pass requirements, the gathering limit is up to 25 people, also subject to one-metre distancing in a single defined space.
Osbornes Funeral Directors managing director Richard Fullard said bereaved families were adjusting "pretty well" to the traffic light system requirements.
"We haven't had any problems with the vaccine pass requirements so far, and people have been pretty good at coming to funerals well prepared to scan in or show their pass.
"That certainly makes the checking process a lot easier," he said.
"We offer vaccinated and unvaccinated services, as we believe everybody is entitled to have a healthy and meaningful funeral experience. no matter what their vaccination status is."
Fullard also said the only real concern for unvaccinated mourners was there were some venues in Rotorua where vaccine passes were mandatory, which limited options.
This included Rotorua Lakes Council, which required vaccine passes to enter the crematorium chapel and at most of the council's other venues and facilities, he said.
Fullard said that could prove difficult in terms of planning funerals for families wanting to hold services within three or four days, especially if other venues were booked, he said.
Fullard said there had also been an increase in the number of services being live-streamed in the past 12 months, which "easily" could be 90 per cent of all their services.
"This definitely adds to the depth of the experience for the wider family, who cannot attend due to the gathering limits or living overseas," he said.
Todd Gower, the co-owner of Collingwood Funeral Home, also said the families he had dealt with had adapted "really well" and were accepting of the new rules.
"We really haven't had any problems as people have been lining up to scan in or show their vaccine passes, as well as wearing masks and following the social distancing rule."
Gower said they provided vaccinated and unvaccinated services, and fortunately there had not been any backlash from families about the new restrictions.
While the gathering limits of 25 people for unvaccinated services was quite low, the large majority of both vaccinated and unvaccinated services were live-streamed, he said.
"We live-stream about 95 per cent of our services, which is a huge number compared to 80 per cent about 12 months ago."
Haven Falls Funeral Homes owner Michelle Pukepuke also said in her experience bereaved families had adjusted well to the new requirements.
"Although it does take a lot of extra korero with the families discussing the arrangements and making sure they're kei te pai [meaning good/fine] with everything before the service.
"Of course not everybody is going to be 100 per cent happy, but our families have been really awesome in coming to terms with the new rules.
"It has been relatively easy once they are fully explained to them.
"No matter whether it's a vaccinated or unvaccinated tangi, we also ensure as much as possible that we follow the Tikanga and tangihanga protocols and get the balance right. "
Pukepuke said the one major issue was trying to match mourner gathering limits and the one-metre social distancing rule to the venue size as some venues had much lower limits.
"The worst thing for families is having to turn away other whanau or close friends."
Gary Taylor, the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand president, also said it was still "very early days" for funeral directors adjusting to the traffic light system.
Taylor said he believed most funeral directors were comfortable offering both vaccinated and unvaccinated services, subject to gathering limits and a strict sanitation regime.
"We always ensure everything is cleaned down between services at a venue, so that means it's probably one of the safest places to visit," he said.
"I think possibly the biggest gripe from funeral directors is being put in the position of having to be the enforcement agency. No funeral director wants to be the vaccine pass policeman.
"Some funeral directors were putting on extra staff, some use Māori wardens and others security staff, and also asking a family member to be a bit of friendly face at the door."
"It will be a very trying time for funeral directors and families as they adjust to these changes. However, I'd say the vast majority will quickly adapt to what is required."
Taylor said, however, he wasn't sure about the legalities of having to ask mourners to show photo identification if there were any concerns about the validity of their pass.
"Unless we ask for photo identification we'll have to take people at face value."