Native Affairs Summer Series – We want our tipuna’s ashes

By Renee Kahukura-Iosefa

A promise to his whānau inspired Terry Fergusson to search and find the ashes of his missing tipuna.

It took the Ngāpuhi artist two years to find his great great grandfather Hudson Pomare Fergusson – whose ashes were laid at the Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland. But Terry and his whanau were shocked and upset  to discover their tipuna’s ashes were not where he was originally laid to rest.

“Hudson Pomare Fergusson was a good man a kind man He was a bushman from the far north who worked in the Kauri forest and had 9 children,” Fergusson says.

Hudson died in 1943, aged  88-years-old under a shroud of mystery, and the whanau were puzzled when they found he was cremated in West Auckland, far from his ancestral home in Northland.

But Fergusson discovered that his whānaunga was moved when the crematorium was demolished and buried in a mass grave vault with 1600 other people.

The Auckland Council do not have plans to disrupt the mass grave, meaning Fergusson and his family cannot have the ashes returned so they can bury their great-great grandfather in their family urupa in Northland.

“It’s heart breaking when it comes to family, which we hold so dear. It needs to be fixed and he needs to go home,”