Family Puts Story Right
This statement has come from the son of the woman identified in a Waikato Times story on Saturday July 19 and subsequently picked up by other media, including the New Zealand Press Association.
The story said, correctly, the family did not know there was a stranger in the casket cremated at a recent funeral. However it incorrectly said a grieving elderly man farewelled his wife. Her husband died nearly 20 years ago.
The son prefers to remain unnamed to honour his mother's memory.
"Some of what the Waikato Times published was incorrect and I do wish to put this right.
"There was no grieving elderly man. My father died nearly 20 years ago and my mother was obviously a widow.
"Yes our family was devastated when Waikato District Health Board told us we farewelled a stranger at my mother's funeral and we understand what the family of the man cremated instead of my mother must have gone through too.
"We thank Waikato DHB for their openness throughout this experience. They have hidden nothing from us and respected our wishes for privacy.
"It is disturbing that someone - not a family member - chose to take this story to the media when we had wanted to honour our mother's memory privately.
"Both families now have the right ashes. My mother was a decent and honest person in her lifetime and she would be upset at what has happened since she died.
"We are concerned the funeral director named in the Waikato Times, who we did contract to handle our mother's funeral and cremation, is denying all knowledge of what happened and is blaming Waikato Hospital."