Wednesday, 15 July 2009
I have been following the body "snatching" case in the Christchurch High Court. There is an interesting conflict between Pakeha law and Maori tikanga. It is well established law that the executor of an estate has control over the body, and that she would have the right to determine the method of burial. Against this, it is also not uncommon among different members of a whanau or hapu in Maori families to dispute the place of burial. Clearly Maori tikanga has a diffrent set of concepts as to ownership os the body and disposal after death. The sad factor is that there was no real attempt to mediate before the body was taken up north. Cross cultural mediation is a challenging area that will dig right into the comfort zones for both parties. But my thoughts are for Justice Fogarty, who will know that he will have to decide a matter which will leave one party very unhappy. There is no "right" answer.