Police called as family argue at funeral home


Police were called to a funeral home when an argument broke out between family members over where the body of the man who died after a fight at the weekend would be taken.

It is understood there was a dispute between members of Ephrame Ronald Waihape's whanau outside the Gentle Touch Funeral Services building on Tuesday afternoon over whether his body would be taken to Ruatahuna or Pakipaki.

The 40-year-old died at the weekend when he was found unconscious in a driveway in Flaxmere and was unable to be revived.

There were two other people at the house at the time of his death and police are not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident.

No charges have been laid at this point and they are still awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination.

A family member present claimed Hawke's Bay Today relief driver and cousin of Mr Waihape, Syd Maaka, attempted to use a Hawke's Bay Today company van to take the body to Ruatahuna, but was opposed by other members of the whanau.

The family member said Mr Maaka's actions were without the permission of the whanau that were part of the funeral process and there were already discussions taking place as to where the body would be taken.

"A kind of informal resolution was agreed upon and when they walked outside, there was a bit of a dispute. That's what it was all about. The police were called because there was the potential [for it] to get out of hand.

"They came to just control the situation, there was no real fighting."

They said the argument pertained to which whanau had the overall decision of where he would lie.

"It's all been sorted now," Mr Maaka said yesterday.

"We went from the funeral home out to Pakipaki and that's where he is at the moment. He's getting buried this Friday.

"He is close family to all of us."

Police could not be reached for comment.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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