Family members stop plans to exhume body of James Takamore

By Mere McLean

A spokesperson for the Takamore whānau says the only way that the body of James Takamore will ever be removed from his marae in Kutarere is to put a bullet between his eyes.

Plans to exhume the body by his widow from his marae and return him to Christchurch was blocked by his family this morning.

The spokesperson of the Takamore whānau says he won't succumb to the law or to the widow of James Takamore. 

“The only way they are going to get him out of my cemetery is put a bullet right between my eyes,” says Jim Wikotu.

When news arrived of the plans to disinter James Takamore's body from his marae near Ōpōtiki, his family spent the night at his gravesite to put a stop to any movement.  There were between 30-40 whānau members at the gravesite in the early hours.

Mr Wikotu says, “The cemetery was blocked because it's private property which my kuia and koroua own and gifted to the marae.”

A digger and excavator were blocked by family members, and Police withdrew from the site when they realised that tension was building.

Denise Clarke won the right from the Supreme Court to exhume the body of her long-time partner from Kutarere Cemetery and transfer closer to her and his children in Christchurch.

According to Mr Wikotu, “The reason why we brought him back here is to free her so she can go and seek another life for herself.”

Kutarere Marae representative, Bruce Pukepuke says that their role was to work with police and the family in finding a peaceful outcome, but he now says this will be left in the hands of the Takamore family to deal with.