The Supreme Court will decide who has the final say on where the body of a man whose family stole his body and took it to his ancestral home should be buried.
James Takamore was 55 when he died suddenly of an aneurism in 2007.
He was originally from Taneatua, in Bay of Plenty, but moved to Christchurch with partner Denise Clarke 20 years before his death. The couple had two children.
Mr Takamore had specified in his will, of which Ms Clarke was executor, that he wanted to be buried but did not say where.
Despite him returning to the North Island only twice in 20 years, his family decided he should be buried on the family marae, in accordance with Tuhoe custom.
However, Miss Clarke had intended him to be buried in Christchurch.
In 2009 the High Court ruled that the Takamore family had taken the body unlawfully and that Miss Clarke was entitled to make the final decision on where he should be buried.
However, Mr Takamore's sister, Josephine Takamore, went to the Court of Appeal and argued that the burial of a Maori was governed by tikanga (customary practices), and that taking Mr Takamore's body was in accordance with Tuhoe burial custom.
After a four-year struggle, the Court of Appeal last November released its decision, siding with Miss Clarke and ordering the matter back to the high court "to deal with the question of remedy''.
I've been meaning to comment on the awful decision from the Court of Appeal, but I've never got the time. I hope to comment on the case in the next week. In short, the decision shows little judicial imagination combined with bucket loads of disrespect for tikanga Maori. Don't, however, rejoice that the appeal to the Supreme Court has succeeded. The current bench, with the exception of the Chief Justice Elias, is equally hostile to tikanaga Maori. Anyway, expect comments here some time next week.