The Dom Post reports:
Maori cannot opt out of their tribal burial customs, the Court of Appeal has been told in the case of a man whose iwi buried his body without the consent of his widow and children.
Jim Takamore was buried in Bay of Plenty after his Tuhoe iwi returned him there under what they said was their customary right to decide on the resting place of iwi members.
He remains there despite a High Court ruling in 2009 in favour of the right of Mr Takamore’s widow, Denise Clarke, who is executor of his will, to have him buried near her and their two children in Christchurch, where he had lived for about 20 years.
Mr Takamore’s mother and two siblings are continuing their court case for formal recognition of what they say is Tuhoe tikanga.
Their lawyer, Jamie Ferguson, told the Court of Appeal in Wellington yesterday that Maori could not “opt out” of tribal burial customs.
Tikanga should trump an executor’s wishes if tikanga was proved and properly used.
Well I’m glad I’m not Tuhoe, as I’d rather not have my corpse stolen from my family.
If the Court of Appeal has a fit of madness, and decides tikanga does trump the wishes of the deceased and the executor, then my advice to those affected would be to arrange for viking funerals where your corpse is burnt, so it can’t be stolen.