Mum pleads for return of deceased son's pounamu

By Kawe Roes

A large pounamu that was bolted to Isachaar Smith-Craig's (Ngāti Kahungunu) grave in Mangaroa Cemetery, near Hastings, is still missing. 

Bereaved mother Teresa Smith-Craig is still hoping the pounamu finds its way back to the urupā in one piece. 

"I just hope it hasn't been chopped up and people are wearing stolen taonga around their necks," says Smith-Craig.

Teresa lost her son in 2007 after he succumbed to an infection years after a near-drowning incident as a baby, which left him wheelchair-bound and brain-damaged.  

Isachaar would have been 19-years-old if alive today. 

Each of Smith-Craig's seven children is gifted a pounamu for their eighteenth birthday.  However, she says, "I had to get something special for Isachaar as he couldn't wear his taonga."

The missing pounamu boulder from Mangaroa Cemetery near Hastings was stolen from Isachaar Smith-Craig's grave at the end of 2018. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.

Isachaar's pounamu was gifted by a whānau friend who searched the rivers of Te Waipounamu before carrying the boulder out. 

Teresa says, "It took him three hours to find it and another three hours to carry it out by hand, it was like holding a baby."

The pounamu only lasted about a week at the grave before it was stolen.

The whānau have requested anyone with information on the whereabouts of the pounamu to contact the police or whānau anonymously.

"It would be nice if it is found still in one piece but we don't care if it's in pieces- we just want all of it back and we won't follow this up with the police."