Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

Man laid to rest on seventh anniversary of death

James Takamore. Photo / Supplied
James Takamore. Photo / Supplied

James Takamore will be laid to rest in Christchurch on the seventh anniversary of his death, but the location is being kept a closely guarded secret.

Denise Clarke has been fighting a legal battle for seven years for her partner's body to be returned to the South Island since it was taken by Mr Takamore's Bay of Plenty family and buried with his ancestors.

The final legal hurdle was won 18 months ago after the Supreme Court dismissed a bid for Mr Takamore's body to be kept at the Bay of Plenty burial site.

Mr Takamore was interred at a marae at Kutarere in accordance with tikanga, or Maori customs and tradition, after he died from an aneurism in August, 2007.

Since then Ms Clarke, the executor of his will, has been battling to have his body returned to Christchurch, where he lived with her and their two children for 20 years.

Today she said she would not be revealing publicly where the burial would take place.

"I don't really want anybody knowing. I don't want [Mr Takamore's family] causing any more trouble."

A service had been arranged for the date, Ms Clarke said.

It was confirmed this week that arrangements had finally been made for Mr Takamore to return to Christchurch.

"I'm more relaxed now, that's for sure, now that I know the date," Ms Clarke said.

"It was always in the back of my mind -- just so worrying ... it's been such a long time."

Her children were also relieved at the latest developments and that they would be able to get "closure", she said.

She had not heard from Mr Takamore's family and did not expect to.

"I'm just very relieved it's finally coming to an end."

Mr Takamore was originally from Taneatua, in Bay of Plenty, and had returned to the North Island only twice in 20 years since moving to Christchurch.

He had specified in his will that he wanted to be buried, but did not say where.

Ms Clarke had intended for him to be buried in Christchurch, but before that could happen the Takamore family collected his body and buried it in Bay of Plenty.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled it was unlawful for Mr Takamore's family to take his body, but his sister Josephine Takamore appealed to the Supreme Court.

Ms Takamore was unable to be contacted this morning.

- APNZ

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