The Ministry of Health published a new guideline in July 2015 regarding Verifying Death:

Clinical criteria for health practitioners to verify death (page 3):

A health practitioner can verify death when:
  • the body shows signs of rigor mortis incompatible with life, or
  • the body has visible injuries incompatible with life, or
  • the body shows signs of decomposition incompatible with life.

Alternatively, health practitioners can verify death once they have undertaken two assessments (a minimum of 10 minutes apart) to establish death. The health practitioner must confirm the following:
  • no signs of breathing for one minute
  • no palpable central pulse (femoral, carotid or brachial). In most circumstances this will require palpation for 5–10 seconds
  • no audible heart sounds
  • pupils dilated and unreactive to light
  • where available, a cardiac monitor or defibrillator is used and shows asystole.