Some 25 years ago James Takamore left his TuHoe homeland and when his life was ended prematurely by an anuerism 1n 2007, he was living in Christchurch with Partner Denise Clarke and their family.
Following his sudden death his body was lying at a Marae awaiting burial according to his wishes as his executor and surviving partner planned them to be carried out.
Then a bizarre and undignified series of actions were put in place by his allegedly estranged "whanau" from the Bay Of Plenty.
A van was hired, his casket was removed from the Marae, and under the watchful observation of the constabulary the entourage traveled to his home Marae as decided by his Whanau and James's body was interred in the Urupa there.
Her favorable court decision was upheld first in the High Court then the Appeal Court and now the whole sorry saga is awaiting a reserved decision in the Supreme Court.
What a travesty and misuse of our Judicial system.
It has long been accepted by most that the executor has the right to dispose of a deceased person and only in a situation where no will exists can such inappropriate behavior manifest that conceivably would allow the unseemly actions of a group of people with scant regard as to what was understood by those closest as desired, could be thwarted.
It has come a a surprise to me and many others that taking James to Tu Hoe as a living being would be kidnapping but removal of his remains in similar circumstances is not covered in NZ Law.
At the time thoughts of indignity being visited on a deceased persons remains did occur to me.
His sister, Josephine, has publicly stated the members of his Whanau who rode roughshod over any wishes of the deceased, his partner of long standing and their family, will ignore whatever The Supreme Court Rules, so no surprises there.
Just as the "claim" over water leaves most citizens somewhat bewildered this saga is equally unsettling if not unnerving but tempered by the very real and personal grief being heaped on a family whose tragic untimely loss was grief enough.
For me it brings further diminishing of any wish to accept the so called tikanga of the people whose ancestors arrived before mine.
If ever there was a case to support "one law for all" then this charade is a great example.
My sincere regrets that James Takamore's attempts to make his life in 21st century New Zealand can be totally disregarded by a group clinging to 17th century mores, customs and values that we are required to accept, albeit only as oral history.