On a similar theme re: moving coffins...
I've personally experienced a number of interesting events involving coffins.
During one funeral (or Tangi as my people call them) I attended we had to extend the funeral/laying in state over 4 days rather than the *usual* 3.
Usually the person will lay in state on/in their Marae/Ancestral Meeting House for 2 days...on the 3 day they are buried.
This one I attended we had to postpone the burial as we were awaiting a brother of the deceased who was flying in from overseas.
However their flight had been cancelled/postponed to a later time...so he was unable to arrive in time for the proposed burial. He was able to make a
later flight...so the burial was moved to the following day.
The next day there were more delays, his plane had been diverted due to bad weather. They had to land at another airport - which necessitated another
flight from there up to a smaller airport close to the original arrival point...and then a long drive to the funeral. So it looked like it simply
wasn't meant to be.
Well...we waited and waited. More drama, more hold-ups, road-closures and diversions even.
The Minister who was performing the burial ceremony stayed as long as he could but eventually had to let the family know that he'd have to depart
soon as he had to be somewhere else in a few hours.
Well - the family made the call to close up the coffin and proceed with the ceremony/burial without the brothers presence.
A few of us carried the coffin lid over and waited for the processes to happen (karakia/prayers etc) then placed the lid on the coffin.
The lid didn't fit.
Despite that coffin lid being placed on the coffin easily and perfectly during transport to the Marae etc...it didn't fit now.
The lid itself was somehow too big. Like an inch or more either side, right round, too big...it was literally too large for the coffin!
Okay...thats a bit freaky! How the heck can a coffin lid GROW to the point its not even close to being able to fit...
We tried and tried...nope...no way. Total disbelief.
One of the old people at the Marae made the comment "It'll fit when his brother arrives. He's waiting for his brother. All we can do is wait"
We were aware that the Minister was due elsewhere soon, so the family went to see the Minister to let him know he could go and they'd sort something
else out. Minister bid his farewells, hops in his car and goes to leave.
He gets to the carpark gates of the Marae and his car dies out. No power, no ignition. Dead. Jump starting, crash starting...nothing worked. Then
while we're all under the bonnet and looking around at what the issue might be the car locks itself. Blip. Central locking goes, doors lock...and
won't disengage with the remote...nor even with the key. They just won't budge.
Just a random occurance people might think? Maybe...
One of the family offers the Minister usage of their car. Hello, that one just refuses to start...not so much as a whisper. The owner hopes in, starts
it first pop, hops out to let the Minister in...Minister hops in and *whoop* dead again. Won't start this time.
The Minister just chuckled and said "Okay okay. I'll stay."
And seriously no sooner does he say that his car which is still out by the Marae carpark gates goes *blip blip* and unlocks itself. For a moment I
think the Minister was think about taking that opportunity to leave in his car...but even said "No. I'll stay" and gave his car keys to someone
else to bring his car back in and park up. It starts, it drives fine, not a worry.
We wait for about another 2 hours before the brother arrives. He goes through his processes (karakia/prayers/acknowledgements etc) and then we once
again go to place the lid on the coffin. Smooth as silk...clips in perfectly.
But that wasn't the end of it.
We were carrying the coffin up to the grave-site...we got to the entrance gate of the Urupa/Graveyard and it all of a sudden became incredibly heavy.
As in those of us carrying it were buckling under the weight of it...and I can tell you that those of us carrying it weren't small guys and not small
with it either...we're all pretty sizeable solid dudes.
Also given that the person we were carrying had passed from cancer...and in their affliction with cancer had lost so much weight they were but skin
and bones. His son had been able to just scope him up easily and place him on the table when he was being prepared. The coffin itself was also not
really heavy...so certainly six large strong guys would have felt basically no burden at all carrying this coffin...but we were all just about reduced
to our knees!
A few other guys - equally as large - leapt in to help out, they too were just like "Faaaaaaaa! Geesus! Thats so heavy!"
We had like about 8 of us on and under it by then...and then it just started *pushing* us back. Literally. We were holding the coffin and *sliding*
back on our feet a few inches at a time.
The old people with us started their karakia/prayers in an effort to intervene with what we all saw as being something of a spiritual nature
happening. So too the Minister.
The brother we had waited for just walked up and banged on the coffin lid and started yelling at his brother, saying stuff like "Hey! You cut that
out! You held up all these people to wait for me to arrive, and I love you for that brother, but you need to go now. Stop mucking around. Go!"
...coffin was instantly light again...in fact with the speed the weight lifted the coffin was actually *thrown* upward by those of us braced under it
and lifting with such force...luckily we didn't drop it...
...burial ran seamlessly after that....