No banning body snatching is not cultural genocide

July 16th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Yvonne Tahana at NZ Herald reports:

The contested burial of Christchurch father and Tuhoe man James Takamore goes to the Supreme Court tomorrow but an academic says a decision overriding customary law is akin to “cultural genocide”.

Mr Takamore died in 2007 in the South Island, where he lived with his partner Denise Clarke and children.

In a move described as “”, his wider whanau took him from Christchurch for burial according to Tuhoe custom at Kutarere in the Bay of Plenty.

Ms Clarke’s fight to disinter the remains was upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal based on her rights as executor and spouse. However, Mr Takamore’s sister Josephine has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Ms Clarke told the Herald she expected to succeed in the latest round of litigation. “They’re not willing to compromise, they’ve made that clear.”

Associate Professor Nin Tomas of the Auckland University law school has researched customary and common law: the first emphasises rights held by whanau, the second holds that executors or spouses have the final say in burial matters.

Neither should have the final say. The clearly expressed wishes of the deceased should have force in law, and if necessary it should be a criminal offence to act against them (so long as they are legal and practical).

In the absence of clear directions in a will, then the order of precedence should be:

  1. Executor
  2. Spouse or partner
  3. Children
  4. Parents
  5. Siblings

Miss Takamore’s wishes should be well down the chain.

Professor Tomas said the Takamore case “is a conflict-of-laws situation and the court needs to look at the overall custom and its importance to the society it supports”.

“To dismember [tikanga], or to outlaw it as a system, as the [courts] have done, is cultural genocide.”

The law needed to change to better accommodate customary law.

There may be a clash of laws. I have no problem at all with saying a law which respect the wishes of the individual deceased and then the person that individual chose to marry should trump a customary law which robs the deceased and their chosen family of their rights to decide place of burial. Of course in a cross-cultural situation, individuals should try and compromise to agree on something palatable to all – but if agreement is not achieved, then the law should be followed and there should be penalties for body stealing.

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90 Responses to “No banning body snatching is not cultural genocide”

  1. jodokast (4 comments) says:

    My reading between the lines is that James moved to Christchurch, deliberately didn’t keep ties with his family, married a women they didn’t agree with.

    Based on that I suspect that the body snatching may be motivated by the family wanting to have the ‘final say’

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  2. RRM (10,018 comments) says:

    I thought “genocide” meant something more like rounding up all the Maori, killing them, and stealing their possessions?

    Way to go, Professor Tomas…

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  3. PaulL (6,048 comments) says:

    The thing is, people get to decide what culture to belong to. If James wanted his wider whanau to have say over his remains, he would have said so in his will. Assuming he didn’t do that, then presumably his immediate family have some idea of his likely wishes. It isn’t clear to me why his further away relatives should get a say that overrides his own presumed wishes.

    If we don’t respect people’s own wishes, then they have no way to leave a culture. If a young muslim woman decides that she doesn’t want an arranged marriage, we don’t say “ah, but it’d be cultural genocide to not respect the wishes of her family.” If she wants an arranged marriage, that’s fine, she’s choosing to remain in that culture. But if she’s indicated otherwise, the law must support her.

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  4. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    Do you have to emigrate to Australia to get away from the body snatchers?

    How far, to send the message that I’m happier with this culture than I one I left behind?

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  5. Dave Guerin (33 comments) says:

    David, the problem is that your personal views (that I’d share for me and my family) are not the only way to deal with things. many Maori have a different approach – it’s not wrong, just different. It would make more sense to try and work through the issues rather than pass legislation that just reflects one approach. Maybe the different approaches could be recognised and one could opt in or out, but I don’t know if just passing a law favouring one approach will resolve things here when it’s more important that the people affected actually talk to each other.

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  6. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Many years ago it was the practice in some cultures for wives to be killed when their husbands died. In India I believe the British put a stop to wives being burned alive in the husband’s funeral pyre. No doubt this was cultural genocide using the professor’s logic as no is doubt stopping honour killings, or does it only apply when Maori are involved?

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  7. RRM (10,018 comments) says:

    I can’t help noticing it’s Tuhoe vs the evil white man as usual…

    I can suggest a different 5-point order of precedence that would solve more problems than just the matter at hand:

    1 – Boundaries of Tuhoe Nation agreed between NZ Govt & Paramount Chief Tame Iti.

    2 – NZ Parliament to enact Tuhoe Nation (R. cedes 1840 claim of sovereignty) Act 2012.

    3 – NZ Police, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, IRD, and all other NZ Govt services withdrawn from areas within the Tuhoe nation and all persons residing in those areas.

    4 – Armoured border wall installed, complete with razor wire topping, minefield and machine gun stations.

    5 – Don’t like the rule of NZ law and think it’s all about “the white man” keeping you down? Enjoy the law of the jungle and paying homage to Paramount Chief Tame Iti, fukkers! I hear fern roots are quite nutritious, for the first few months until they grind your molars away…

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  8. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    I have had to pay substantial filing fees to go to court to collect money off some deadbeat former lawyer who thought he was a developer. I wonder who is paying the court costs and legal fees for this outrageous appeal.

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  9. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Do you have to emigrate to Australia to get away from the body snatchers?

    How far, to send the message that I’m happier with this culture than I one I left behind?

    Keep going until those you leave behind cannot get a MSD grant for petrol and tangi expenses because you are too far away.

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  10. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Jeeeeze RRM, you been suckin’ on that far right kool-aide over the weekend?!? I wondered who’d had all of mine ;)

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  11. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Good point chuck.

    Yet another academic who needs retiring.
    We don’t need any new laws just the existing enforced.
    What did he want?
    What did his spouse want?

    Looking forward to the exhumation and the arrests, know which side I’m cheering for and it’s not the whanau but the wife.

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  12. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    Common law has also prohibited cannibalism.

    Is this another example of “cultural genocide”?

    Every culture has practices which are best left in the past. Body snatching is one of those practices.

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  13. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    but I don’t know if just passing a law favouring one approach will resolve things

    Yes, it’s disgraceful that I can’t murder whoever I choose. Duh! We have laws to prevent multiple, conflicting ‘approaches’

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  14. KH (695 comments) says:

    To Dave Guerin at 12.17
    In this case from Christchurch nobody from the ‘family’ tried to work ‘through the issues.’
    They demanded, snatched and took.
    Which unfortunately seems to be a culturally determined process within Maori.
    There was the treaty of Waitangi, where maori handed over sovereignty to the crown, in return for personal protection, mainly from other maori, via the use of law. Great deal for maori.
    It’s time they stood by that deal. And stopped just doing what suits at the time.

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  15. tvb (4,508 comments) says:

    In the absence of clear directions the executor has NO role except to carry out the wishes of the next of kin. Surely you do not intent the public trust should be able to override the family.

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  16. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    This was a disgraceful case – and Mr Guerin sets out just how these situations should NOT be dealt with. As someone else noted, the widow tried the “let’s all have a little korero” solution and look where that got Ms Clarke…

    It’s hard to know where to begin. Yes, there are already laws about “body snatching” – the gutless police in this case neither enforced those nor the High Court order Ms Clarke got ordering the exhumation of the body after its hasty burial. Where the hell does that end, when you allow the police to decide which orders of the court they will and won’t obey or enforce; which orders might or might not be “culturally offensive” to Maori or God knows who or what else?

    There is a lot of academic navel gazing about just what “the rule of law” means; whatever else it might mean, it certainly means that when the High Court orders that something should be done, it should be done! Without that, High Court Orders may as well be renamed ” High Court Suggestions.”

    I am not going to speculate on what the Supreme Court might or might not do – at least not here. But if they uphold the Court of Appeal, and the Police still do nothing, God help us.

    RRM: What have you been smoking over the weekend? You have just laid out a close approximation of the Garrett Solution for Tuhoe’s claim to self determination. I’ll see you at the Conservative Party conference!

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  17. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    TVB,
    I disagree with your comment.
    At law the executor of a deceased persons estate is entitled to the custody of the body and in the absence of specific instructions has a duty to bury it.
    The manner of burial is in the discretion of the executor, althoung in practice the executor will consider the wishes of the immmediate family.

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  18. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Alex: I think in this case Mr Takamore left no will, is that right? Or did he leave a will naming Ms Clarke as executor without leaving specific burial instructions ?

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  19. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    DG,
    I don’t know. I read the decision but forget the detail.
    If there is no will then the immediate family generally look after the interment. The administrator is appointed well after the wake is a distant memory.
    If the will provides no interment instructions then the decision is ulitmately the executors but of course and as I pointed out above the wishes of the family are generally taken into account.
    The reason the executor is interested in how the body is interred is because the courts have determined that he or she is liable to the undertakers for their costs.

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  20. Odakyu-sen (748 comments) says:

    It depends whether your culture respects the wishes of the individual or gives priority to “the way it’s done.” Moreover, if “the way it’s done” is a big freakin’ deal and is linked into “mana,” then the extended family are going to do things “the way it’s done” regardless of what anyone or anything outside the family says, thinks or has written down. That’s just “the way it’s done.” End of story.

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  21. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Alex: My memory of it is there was no dispute that Ms C was the executor..otherwise she could not have got the High Court Order I presume….

    Either way, the fact that the police refuse to enforce that order is a disgrace, do you agree?

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  22. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    I certainly agree with your last point David.

    Mind you I wouldn’t want to be the poor bugger tasked with enforcing the order.

    Just checked the CA decision. Ms C was executrix so was entitled at common law to possession of the body for burial purposes.

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  23. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    With respect (as we say in the trade!) I wouldn’t fancy being a cop breaking up a gang brawl either…but that’s what cops do…Same principle applies…in fact even more so…have we reached the point where the cops wont enforce a high court order because there might be trouble?

    Gideon Tait would turn in his grave…

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  24. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Gotta love these academics and their emotive language. Cultural genocide? James Takamore had little contact if any with his extended whanau way before his death. He made his choices in life. Allow the man the respect and those choices he deserves in death.

    His extended whanau could have easily given their blessing to his wishes. It’s not uncommon. They choose not to and invoked this old tradition for their own mana.

    I hope she wins, yet again, and she can finally take her tane home to rest.

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  25. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Wahine: Well done girl…I’ll talk to you privately about what the Supreme Court might do …in some respects, namely the greatest impact on ordinary New Zealanders, this might be the most important decision they have made so far..implications Waaay beyond this case, or even these facts…

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  26. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    I’d be most interested in your opinion re a Supreme Court ruling in this matter David…

    I wonder if these academics believe all Maori should be returned their iwi hapu, even the ones sold into slavery or stolen during raids? I mean if we can recover heads from half eay across the world, digging up a few bones in our own country shouldn’t be too hard… Or is this tikanga practice only invoked when the husband or wife is Pakeha?

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  27. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Wahine: sold into slavery? Whatever do you mean? And that head trade, that was all done by the evil honky…wasn’t it? Apparently they stole the heads…all those wicked stories about heads tattooed to order are just racist …mate…

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  28. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    Like you and others have said David…say it often enough and it becomes the truth.

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  29. Mark (1,491 comments) says:

    David
    You are right about the implications of the Supreme Court decision. If the police fail to Act on a Supreme Court order then anarchy rules.

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  30. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    If the police can use helicopters on Dotcom when it was not necessary the can use them to send the police in a surprise raid if these criminals do not accept an order from the Supreme Court. If the police will not do their job heads should roll.

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  31. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Chuck: Yes…well said…I wouldn’t hold my breath…

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  32. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    Supreme Court will pussyfoot around and suggest a family conference, police will do nothing after all this is Tuhoe who will not obey law anyway

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  33. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Adamsmith: Tuhoe dont have to obey the law if the Police do their job…The best that will happen I suspect is it will be kicked back down to the High Court…and Ms Clarke can spend another $15,000 – if she has it – and wait another two years…

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  34. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird 4.39

    When were the family members convicted?

    To others…’has researched customary and common law: the first emphasises rights held by whanau, the second holds that executors or spouses have the final say in burial matters.’ Aren’t those the questions and isn’t DG’s concern, to be messaged privately, the fear of what some believe could see customary law prevailing?

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  35. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    No dickhead…it’s “around” commenting on cases before the court..or even heaven forbid, criticising Judges in a public forum…

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  36. wat dabney (3,809 comments) says:

    Fuck me

    http://www.law.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/os-nin-tomas

    Did you ever read such a load of wank in all your life.

    Her academic [sic] career is grounded in Aotearoa/New Zealand, drawing upon the rich, and largely unrecognised, intellectual contribution Māori society has to make to domestic and international law.

    The winner eats the loser?

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  37. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    ‘No dickhead…it’s “around” commenting on cases before the court..or even heaven forbid, criticising Judges in a public forum’

    Glad to see you’ve learnt when to speak in whispers DG. Should I be anticipating a threat from you next, I’m quivering at the very thought. But you did make a fair comment about the High Court of Suggestions even if later overcome by school boy insults.

    So to the point, no concern at all that customary law may prevail?

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  38. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Wat: Very good! There was a time when law lecturers’ careers were “grounded” in a solid record of publication and research, but hey, I’m just an old curmudgeon

    Nostalgia: Another brave anonymous commenter… There’s another one isn’t there? “Nostalgia 2″? Often makes quite a bit of sense?

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  39. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    “When were the family members convicted?”

    The question should be when should the distant relations been charged.

    I am appalled at many of the anti-Maori comments often on this blog but what happened is an outrage.

    The thugs that caused extreme distress to Takamore’s closest family – his wife and children should be held to account. If the law says they broke no law the needs to be a law that makes things clear.

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  40. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    I was making the point that they’re not convicted of any crime Chuck Bird. I understand there is no law to charge the relations, or even to support the proposal that they’re ‘distant.’

    I don’t know the answer to the last part of your comment, but it does need clarifying – taking into account, traditions that seem to have been accepted by the law at the very time of what DPF has called body snatching. Being no decision to charge, no doubt after careful consideration by Crown Law.

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  41. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    The law is perfectly clear Chuck…as was the High Court Order REQUIRING the police to exhume the body…or at least to keep the peace will somebody else did it…The order was a suggestion that the police mediate a wee chat on the paepae…

    Absolutely disgraceful…

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  42. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Anonymous one: You have missed the first vital step…Before there is any decision on a charge, the police have to arrest someone…that didn’t happen because they refused to execute the Court Order that the body be exhumed…

    And they didn’t act on the complaint of theft of the body because it was “culturally sensitive”…I’d find it pretty damn “culturally insensitive” to be interrupted from my Sunday lunch, but that wouldn’t stop them if some Order needed to be carried out involving me…

    Typo: “the order was NOT a suggestion that the police mediate a wee chat…”

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  43. big bruv (14,148 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    “With respect (as we say in the trade!) I wouldn’t fancy being a cop breaking up a gang brawl either”

    This is one of the things that is wrong with modern cops. One of my family members was a cop for many years, he always told me that when they attended a gang brawl the first thing they did was make sure all the innocent people were not in danger and then left the scum to go at it.
    When they had used up all their energy they went in, lifted some of them up by the hair and told them they were arrested.

    Oh for the good old days of Kiwi Policing.

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  44. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    Actually DG arrest need not come first. But certainly evidence of a crime must, from memory the police were called at the time of the ‘alleged’ snatch at which point customary law and statute must have been considered. I don’t know but it may even go to the extent of how ‘possession’ of a corpse is viewed by the law, or the rights of the living over a corpse other that the indignity factor I seem to remember reading somewhere.

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  45. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    Dg, why should we be surprised. The Govt. the Courts in general and our pollies gave up defending an individuals rights a longtime ago.

    If the police haven’t acted on a court ruling then they are in contempt and the commissioner should be held so. Everybody else would be.

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  46. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    …………………all this is Tuhoe who will not obey law anyway

    Nope, Te Ūpokorehe actually….”sits within the traditional passageway that Tūhoe used to access the Ohiwa harbour from Te Uruwera.”

    Unfortunately some of my ex-collegues were a wee bit tardy when this all started and quietly hoped the matter would go away, but it hasn’t and now its going to get messy and it will be a “cause” for the disaffected to get involved in. i.e Swiss wankers and bone wearers from Auckland and Wellington as well as local shit bags

    The only good thing is a bloody wet at the moment and occupation season is generally around January when the weathers warm

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  47. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    BB: I quite agree…I should have just said “…a violent brawl” without putting “gang” in there…

    And who can forget them waiting “at a safe distance” while that poor Indian shopkeeper bled to death after an armed robberty because it might not have been safe to go in and help him? Made even worse by the fact they had been told the bad guys had gone…that would have had to be the low point…Hopefully Commissioner Marshall won’t preside over that kind of disgrace…

    Nostalgia: Tell me what you are (lawyer, law student or just general leftie know all) and I will decide whether it’s worth engaging with you…

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  48. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    PEB: But WHY were they “a bit tardy” when they had a court order? Can you share its terms with us, i.e. were they supposed to actually do the exhumation or just supervise it? Do you know why they did not comply with it?

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  49. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Supervise, I believes, exhumations are done by professionals.

    The main problem was the body could have been intercepted and taken back to ChCh way before it got here but for whatever reason it wasn’t.

    The wife has the right to the body, thats a given, but from what I’ve read, the kids aren’t in Chch anymore and maybe the wife isn’t either,? I don;t know but he’s buried in a very beautiful spot.

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  50. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    PEB: Yes…actually from my memory, she obtained the order BEFORE he was actually interred…the local cops just stood by and didnt stop them burying him…is that so?

    And do you have any idea why they didn’t intercept the coffin before it got to your neck of the woods?

    and frankly, whether Ms C or the kids are currently in Christchurch has absolutely nothing to do with it..

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  51. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I don’t know but I believe they let him get buried as to stop a ruck at the time.

    I have no idea why the south island cops never stopped them, conclusions can be drawn I suppose

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  52. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Exactly…they allowed him to get buried “to stop a ruck at the time”…There was a time – you were probably in the job then – when cops would START a ruck if necessary in order to carry out an order of the Court…

    How many of them can there have been? it wasnt exactly the Springbok test in Hamilton when widespread mayhem could have resulted …and in that case there was no court order..I dont know why this one pisses me off so much, but it does…I guess maybe because I am a bit particular about what happens to my corpus when the time comes…

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  53. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    DG

    From a suicide note remembered from many years ago

    “I’ve taken the lid off my body bury me in the back yard or feed me to the cats , love Neville”

    now thats the spirit on how the corpus should be treated, tis but an empty vessel

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  54. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    PEB gives the answer..

    ‘The wife has the right to the body, thats a given, but from what I’ve read, the kids aren’t in Chch anymore and maybe the wife isn’t either,? I don;t know but he’s buried in a very beautiful spot.’

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  55. OneTrack (3,226 comments) says:

    DG – You almost certainly know as well as I do why the cops bent over backwards and caved in to our brown brothers. She who must be obeyed would have made it very nasty for the police concerned if they hadn’t. They made their choice and kept their jobs and promotion prospects. It was another time. A time that will probably be returning in 2014.

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  56. Alan Wilkinson (1,889 comments) says:

    I guess its also cultural genocide to stop the Taleban stoning rape victims. So I’m pretty indifferent towards cultural genocide and would hope our courts will be too.

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  57. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    I believe this was a rather ill-considered post. The Herald article in question makes it clear that there is a genuine culture clash to be resolved. DPF tosses off a list of descending rights of ownership of a corpse. Sorry, but it ain’t that simple.

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  58. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    MM

    Do fuck off, cultural my arse, the wife wants her husband buried where he wanted to be buried period.

    Anyway its a school night, its late and you should be off the computer.

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  59. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Mikey: and here’s me thinking you had made some thoughtful contributions on this issue. It’s actually very simple: tribal customs must take second place to the rule of law, meaning both what the law says about who has control over another’s body AND the need to enforce Court Orders – which aren’t and should never be just “suggestions” – regardless of whether there will or might be a “ruck.”

    Lefties feel almost compelled to complicate things; the obvious explanation is never enough or the correct one. I am reading Rudolph Guiliani’s book “Leadership” at the minute. In it he says that criminologists and others refused to acknowledge a radically altered policing model was responsible for the dramatic reduction in crime in NYC during his watch because “it could never be that simple.” Even Freud acknowledged that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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  60. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    I completely agree that the court order should have been enforced – that’s what the rule of law requires.
    But should the law simply make a person’s body the property of a surviving spouse or executor? I should be reluctant to dismiss entirely the concept that a whanau may retain some collective interest in a person’s remains after death.
    I’m pleased to see that Guiliani believed in simple concepts – who’d have thought.

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  61. nasska (11,804 comments) says:

    David Garrett

    Doesn’t “Ockham’s razor” mean something to the effect that the simplest explanation is usually the right one?

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  62. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    More on Nin(compoop) Tomas:

    ‘In 2008 Nin was awarded a grant of $175,000, by Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, to lead a team of researchers investigating Nga Tikanga Mate (Māori Burial Customs). The research proposal was prompted by a spate of “body-takings” in 2006-2007 and will compare Māori and Pakeha (European) rules relating to the death and burial of individuals.’

    Words fail me.

    I remember Tomas from a Te Papa Treaty ‘Debate’ earlier this year. (You know, the Wellington kind where five pro-Maori radicals spit their racist poison to a mostly sycophantic audience, with alternative views neither sought nor tolerated.)

    Tomas’s contribution was to pitch a Bolivian-style constitution based on ‘pajamama’ (read ‘kaitiakitanga’) where humans have equal rights with three-toed sloths and blades of grass, but indigenous humans – like, um, Nin – are more equal than others.

    The line that did it for me was: “New Zealanders need to be reeducated.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

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  63. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Hi John..Sleepless in Kaukapakapa here …You are kidding…she actually used that last line??

    How old is this person? Presumably not old enough to remember either Pol Pot or Mao…

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  64. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    It’s simple, it’s the rule of law and the NZ Police were and are found wanting.
    The heavy mob should have gone in and acquired the body for the widow and then the iwi should have been prosecuted.
    Another reason Helen Clark shouldn’t have any medals or rearwards from NZ and that the top echelon of the NZ Police need careful watching and sacking regularly if need be.
    yes sometimes things are simple and no amount of lefty trollop can change that.

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  65. alex Masterley (1,523 comments) says:

    I thought Nin Thomas was odd but that odd?

    Thank the lord I have little to do with the University of Auckland Law School.

    Anyway, thinking about this matter the esential issue for me was Mr Takamore had deliberately moved away from his hapu/iwi links in his shift to Christchurch.

    When he prepared his will he probably gave no thought to cultural issues. Very few people do.

    All he considered was the mode of interment. Had he sought to return to his hapu/iwi he would have made allowance for that in his will.

    in the situation of Mr Takamore my feeling is that commonlaw should prevail rather than customary as he had walked away from it.

    Let us take this discussion further. Look at the Gold Coast for example. What is going to happen if a member of Tuhoe dies on the gc making provision for interment on the GC will the Tuhoe nation invade to recover the corpse and bring it back to New Zealand? If the SC holds that the rights for which Nin Thomas advocates as opposed to common law what happens in that situation.

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  66. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I haven’t read this..why read something when you can just comment..Firstly she wasn’t a widow if we are going to get particular about NZ law..Secondly , she is a silly pakeha tart who exemplifies the worst of CHCh..If you cannot give a little, adapt , change, don’t get involved with someone from another culture…It is that simple , really truly it is…
    Just about anyone who has ever lived in the NI knows that Tuhoe stick closer to their traditions than just about all other Maori..Did she ever exhibit any curiosity about his culture or his family..?
    Why enter into a battle royal?..He is dead. Give him some dignity and give us a break.
    If my husbands family want his body back [this would be traditional ], they can have it..If I have to contribute to the cost of its repatriation , I shall if I am am able to at the time..If I have to dress up in calico and move around the coffin on my knees with the other rellies, I shall..I am flexible..I chose to marry a foreigner.
    These days most NZers do not have ”a body ” because they do not have a burial..they scatter ashes..

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  67. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    This sounds like a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi to me. We should have a decision today.

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  68. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    “I am flexible..I chose to marry a foreigner.”

    Strange comment. I do not think most Maori consider themselves foreigners.

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  69. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    I remember Tomas from a Te Papa Treaty ‘Debate’ earlier this year. …

    Tomas’s contribution was to pitch a Bolivian-style constitution based on ‘pajamama’ (read ‘kaitiakitanga’) where humans have equal rights with three-toed sloths and blades of grass, but indigenous humans – like, um, Nin – are more equal than others.

    I seriously considered a BSA complaint after that one (the lectures air on Radio NZ). The description of the role of Pachamama under the Bolivian Constitution was incredibly misleading, and in many respects, flat wrong.

    It confused the Bolivian Constitution with the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, and made some frankly ludicrous statements about that law’s effects.

    In the end I didn’t complain – it wasn’t really Radio NZ’s fault – but I was disappointed at the standard of scholarship we seem to be able to expect from an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland Law School.

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  70. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I wasn’t saying Maori are foreigners. I was saying , if you marry into another culture you have to adapt , be flexible , learn , adjust.. It is not always easy. I am married to a foreigner as many on here know..If you want everything to be just like your culture, marry someone from your own culture and spare the rest of us all the tedium.
    Are you understanding me now?

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  71. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Sleepless in Kaukapakapa and others:

    Listen to Nincompoop Thomas at 35:00 here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/lecturesandforums/thetreatydebates.

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  72. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    Joana, There are no full blood Maori. If someone has a little Maori heritage they every right identify as Maori. The reverse also applies if someone has a little European heritage.

    James Takamore had every right to identify as European. I do not know if he did but it sounds to me like he may have. In any case his partner Denise Clarke probably would not have anticipated his body would have been snatched.

    Please explain why someone who marries someone with some Maori heritage who may not identify as Maori should have to adopt Maori culture.

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  73. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    If you marry a Maori; you just might have to be prepared for the whanau to to turn up to take him or her way for the tangi.

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  74. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    Mikey: You are still missing the point…in 2012, if you divorce yourself from what someone thinks is “your culture”, you have the right to be protected – both in life and in death – from some pack of mongrels arriving to assert that cultures dominion over you or your remains.

    If the rule of law does not encompass that, then the phrase is meaningless.

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  75. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    The wife is the only one with any rights in this case, if need be the cops should go in mob handed and crack a few heads.

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  76. Manolo (14,059 comments) says:

    The Marris are too precious and self-centered.

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  77. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    I guess it’s a question of whether the law priviliges the right of an individual to determine what happen to his or her corpse or priviliges the rights of an extended family. I don’t really have a strong view here, and feel sorry for families that have to negotiate this kind of difficulty. I just don’t see why the law should necessarily privilege one set of customs over another. I tend to agree with you that where an individual has clearly expressed wishes; they should be respected. That’s my cultural view; but I’m prepared to conceive that it doesn’t work that way for everyone.

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  78. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    At this stage I’ll put the culture first with a ‘let the buyer (or cross-culturist) beware.’

    No such word as ‘culturist’ apparently. That’s another reason why the treaty can be seen as having more potential leaks than Watergate.

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  79. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    “The Marris are too precious and self-centered.”

    So you think the majority of Maori support this or even a significant minority.

    It sounds to me that the majority on the blog who support this outrage are white.

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  80. David Garrett (7,541 comments) says:

    grumpy: I really am interested…are you actually Maori? If so, that makes you and Wahine who are regular contributors to this blog, and Maori, and share the view that the f…ing iwi had no right to snatch this guys body from the only “family” he acknowledged…

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  81. Diziet Sma (96 comments) says:

    Ugly standover thuggery. They can keep their maoris vs pakehas nonsense. There is no mana in what they did to her.

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  82. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    Update

    Body-snatch case decision should not be made in court – lawyer

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10820201

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  83. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    Interesting read Chuck Bird.

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  84. Paul Marsden (999 comments) says:

    I think most mainstream NZ’rs pakeha and maori alike, are horrified at the disrespect that has been shown to the deceased and his poor, immediate family. Heaven help NZ if the SC do not come down firmly on their side.

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  85. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    Maori were once a race, but are now a religion – New Zealand’s state religion.

    All of the actions of their lunatic fringe (in which I include their exaggerationist leaders, but not the majority of Maori people) must be seen in that context.

    The graverobbers seem to have a similar arrogance to Muslim fundamentalists, and the Tuhoe madmen display even more disturbing parallels.

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  86. Manolo (14,059 comments) says:

    Her lawyer, Jamie Ferguson, said that Tuhoe tikanga, or custom, applies to anyone of Tuhoe descent no matter how they have lived their lives.

    “The only basis on which they are not subject to tikanga is if they are not Tuhoe.”

    Your life and body are not yours. Understood?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7292769/Takamore-burial-appeal-heard

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  87. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    Yes Manolo, that is pretty much the deal: your body returns to the home place. If your mindset is the a deceased body is the sole property of someone else (spouse, child, etc) then the situation can be ripe for misunderstanding.
    It looks like the Supreme Court is inclining towards a British common-law view, but I hope something a bit more helpful can emerge.

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  88. Chuck Bird (4,924 comments) says:

    I would be very interested to hear if the taxpayer is paying the court and legal cost for this outrageous appeal. Court costs are dear enough now in the District Court. I would think they would be a lot more in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. I would be surprised if the lawyer’s fees would not be well over 10 grand.

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  89. Nostalgia-NZ (5,279 comments) says:

    With all the outrage here it seems no one notes that Jame’s body is buried beside that of his father and other relatives, the words’body snatch’ and so suggest there was some profit aspect or malevolence involved while the ‘blood’ family say it is their culture. Maybe some others here have some personal experience of this, I’d like to hear those rather than the voiced ‘ideals’ of some that judge based on inclination or ‘outrage.’

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  90. mikenmild (11,719 comments) says:

    Fair enough, I should expect that there are any number of whanau around the country that are upset that family members have not been returned to their turangawaewae

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