The coroner will investigate what killed Jean Sparksman.

The 89-year-old Hawke's Bay woman died on August 13.

Test results yesterday confirmed she had contracted campylobacter. A post-mortem examination revealed she also had other significant underlying health issues.

The coroner will investigate if campylobacter contributed to her death.


Age Concern this week confirmed the woman had been living at Mary Doyle village in Havelock North. The retirement village declined to comment when Hawke's Bay Today contacted it.

Coroner Peter Ryan said further testing was being done to determine the specific cause of death, and what particular strain of campylobacter Mrs Sparksman had.

Mr Ryan said that, on the information available, it was unclear what effect, if any, the campylobacter infection had on the woman's death.

This will be a focus of his investigation.

Hawke's Bay Medical Officer of Health, Dr Nick Jones, has asked Mr Ryan to make information public to ensure there is transparent reporting of any death associated, in any way, with a campylobacter outbreak that has hit Havelock North this week.

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule said yesterday afternoon that he would be meeting the family today.

"I haven't as yet. They have wanted to keep everything private. I've wanted to know if she had campylobacter and, while I accept that she had a number of other significant health issues according to initial reports, I do believe that I need to go and meet them and say that she obviously had campylobacter which can't have helped her health at the time, even though it may not be ultimately responsible for her death. I feel I should do that and I intend to do so," he said.