Dead bodies on display

(Warning: distressing content)

Tomorrow marks the first weekend that New Zealanders will get the chance to witness an exhibition that displays real, dead human bodies.

The Body Worlds Vital exhibition includes more than 150 donated bodies with illnesses like smoker's lungs and arthritis. 

So far it has received mixed reactions from the public, but its main purpose is to educate and inspire visitors to look after their own health, says creators Dr Gunther von Hagens and Dr Angelina Whalley.

“Through plastination I could present the body in a memorable and beautiful way so that people could learn about anatomy, disease and health, Whalley said in a statement.

“I’ve seen visitors ditch their cigarette packs at the sight of a smoker’s lung and to me this is proof that I am accomplishing what I set out to achieve.”

More than 50 New Zealand schools have signed up for educational experience at the exhibit, which has been seen by more than 45 million people since 1995.

It will be open until July 13 at the Hilton Exhibition Centre on Princes Wharf.