Desecration of son’s grave leaves family devastated

The desecration of a son’s grave at Onerahi Cemetery has left a Whangarei family "devastated", mother Leanne Brownie says.

She says she felt ”pretty angry, very sad, violated, I felt like someone had spat in my face.”

Brownie says her former husband stopped off at the cemetery to pay their son Levi a visit when he found the wrought iron railing from around his grave gone.

“He arrived to find two council staff and all of the items off our son’s grave, twenty years’ worth, removed,” she says.

When council staff told him they had to remove everything for health and safety reasons to dig a grave alongside their son, Leanne says he was devastated and the situation quickly evolved into an altercation.

“My ex-husband was very angry and they actually called security and police ended up there as well.”

She says what was frustrating for the whānau was the lack of communication from the council before they desecrated her son’s grave.

However, when they met with the council today she spoke with the cemetery supervisor by phone and he claimed they had tried to find the Bucknell family in the local telephone directory to no avail.

“There are only two people with the same surname in the local telephone book, I have to surmise he wasn’t telling me the truth, I don’t believe him,” she says.

Brownie claims the council didn’t apologise today for the desecration.

However, the mayor has since responded this afternoon with a written apology and a phone call saying the council is terribly sorry for the hurt and suffering they have caused the family.