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Widow vows to fight on for partner's body

Published: 2:37PM Sunday August 17, 2014 Source: Sunday

The widow of Jim Takamore, whose remains are at the centre of a body snatching scandal, says she won't give up the fight to bring her late partner back to the South Island, where she says he belongs.

Denise Clarke and her children, who'd travelled from Christchurch to the Bay of Plenty last week, were barred from entering a Maori cemetery at the small township of Kutarere.

Tuhoe were protesting court orders that have given Ms Clarke the right to uplift Jim Takamore's body.

She claims she and her children received abuse including death threats.

"As soon as they saw us they told us to f-off basically."

They were told prior to the exhumation attempt locals might be armed to resist entry to the cemetery, by a team of contractors.

Police called off the exhumation after a confrontation with the protestors, citing fears for public safety. Police later said there was no suggestion of arms at the scene.

Kaumatua Jim Wikotu told TVNZ's Sunday programme, Tuhoe's attitude to the idea of exhumation is unequivocal: "We've got him, we're going to hold him and nobody's going to take him away. Nobody."

The body was taken without Ms Clarke's consent, ostensibly because she had not observed Maori Tikanga - or customary lore.

She has been fighting for seven years to retrieve the remains. Three courts have given Ms Clarke the right to decide where Jim should be buried and to uplift his body.

She's concerned Tuhoe has refused to acknowledge the courts' decisions.

"You can't override the law. The law is the law".

Ms Clarke had planned to be re-burying her late partner in Christchurch today, the seventh anniversary of his death.

Body Snatchers - tonight on Sunday 7pm.

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