It took a long battle with bureaucracy, but an Otago farmer has been returned to the soil he worked on all his life.
Don Graham, 72, was buried on his Ardachy Station property at Hindon this week in a ceremony attended by more than 120 family members and friends.
A bagpiper played as Mr Graham was interred in the place he had chosen on the property, among rolling hills and wind-swept tussock.
Obtaining permission for the burial was a long legal process, including gathering affidavits and securing consents.
Funeral director Robert Campbell said it was the first time in 40 years he had been involved in a home burial.
"It's very uncommon, because you have to get permission through the Burial in a Special Place Act," he said.
The law stipulates that people must be buried communally if they lived within 32km of a cemetery.
But it allows for home burial "if there are exceptional circumstances making the burial of that body in that place particularly appropriate".
Mr Campbell said: "He was granted permission by the Ministry of Health four years ago, because he and his forebears had farmed the land for 105 years and had a close association with the property."
The grave site looks over Ardachy Station towards the Taieri River.
"It's a lovely spot in the hills overlooking the valley," said Robin Gamble, who delivered the eulogy at the funeral.
Mr Gamble said Mr Graham was passionate about the area in which he lived, and always wanted to be buried there.
"But it was very difficult and involved. He had to get 10 affidavits from people to support his request, as well as regional council consents."
Mr Graham lived all his life in the area, taking over Ardachy Station from his father-in-law in 1956.
Mr Graham's widow, Leila, said it was an emotional day for her and her two sons.
"He spent very little time away from the farm, and he would have been so proud. We can look out the back window of the house and see him down there now," she said.
Mr Graham enjoyed a laugh. On April 1, 1991, he appeared on the front page of the Otago Daily Times with a "shabbit", a creature he claimed to have bred from a merino sheep and a rabbit.
The April Fool's Day trick was so successful people were still ringing him up months later to ask about breeding stock.
- OTAGO DAILY TIMES