9 Nov 2008

Hundreds mourn Kerikeri teenager

6:07 pm on 9 November 2008

More than 1,000 people have farewelled Liberty Templeman, whose body was found near the Northland town of Kerikeri on Sunday.

Crowds squeezed in to the town's auditorium for the funeral of the 15-year-old, described in tributes as a funny, loving friend and a born performer.

Her casket, painted in her favourite burnt orange, rested on the stage where last month she played Princess Yasmin in the local pantomine.

Long lines of sobbing teenagers placed sprigs of rosemary in the black hearse decked with orange ribbons, and stood hugging and weeping as it drove away.

She was cremated in a private service.

Friends and family of the Templemans who flew out from Britain thanked Kerikeri people for their support.

The Kerikeri High School chaplain offered the family an olive branch from his orchard, asking them to forgive the community for what happened to their daughter.

Youth charged

The funeral took place a day after police announced that a 14-year-old youth had been charged with her murder.

The police would not say how Miss Templeman died, but said he is also charged with indecent assault.

They said the youth was a friend of Miss Templeman and both went to same high school but he was not her boyfriend.

Inspector Chris Scahill said the accused appeared in Kaikohe Youth Court on Friday afternoon and was remanded into the care of Child, Youth and Family. He will reappear in court on November 17.

Mr Scahill said the tragic case has had a profound effect on the community, but the arrest has given some solace to Liberty Templeman's parents.

Failed to meet friend

Miss Templeman's body was found last Sunday in an old orchard. She had been reported missing the previous night after failing to meet a friend.

Miss Templeman was a student at Kerikeri High School until a fortnight ago, when she moved to Auckland with her parents. She was in Kerikeri visiting friends last weekend.

Her family made a public statement through police on Friday, thanking the community for its support.

Her parents said Miss Templeman had been looking forward to Monday as her first day at Rangitoto College, where she had auditioned for a part in the end-of-year show.

The Templemans said they wanted to thank the community of Kerikeri, their daughter's friends and police for all their efforts.

A tapu-lifting service was held in the orchard on Thursday. Kaumatua offered prayers to bless the site where the teenager's body was found.

Kerikeri High School deputy principal Mike Clent says students have left paintings and messages on the walls of the school auditorium, expressing their emotions.

He says the killing of their schoolmate will be a sad and significant memory for them, and the way they are supporting one another is admirable.