In New Zealand culture, when someone dies, we need to say goodbye. That farewell may take many forms – a funeral services, a Tangihanga, a wake, a quiet gathering of friends. When this happens, many of the people closely involved find it very helpful to spend time saying goodbye. By viewing the person’s body that looks at peace and natural, rather than, say, in great pain, or surrounded by complex hospital equipment, has been shown to have the most benefit when mourning the loss of someone close. To ensure that family and friends can have safe access and a positive experience, a body must be embalmed – sanitised, preserved and presented naturally – because nature begins to take its course very soon after death. The effects of long-term use of medications, viral and bacterial infections, or post mortem investigations can cause extreme conditions within the body, and may result in rapid decomposition. Embalming enables everyone connected with the funeral – family, friends and professionals – to take part in farewell rituals with no unpleasantness or embarrassment, and without risk to their health.