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Whakahuihui Vercoe



  • Title
    The Most Reverend AWMM
  • Forenames
    Whakahuihui AWMM
  • Surname
    Vercoe AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Te Whakahuihui Vercoe AWMM
  • Service number
    Vietnam 215325 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    4 June 1928 AWMM TorereBay of Plenty AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • 1948-1960 AWMM
      The Malayan Emergency AWMM
      The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) After the defeat of the Japanese in WWII, a new problem emerged for Malaya. In 1948 Chinese guerrilla fighters (who had been armed and air supplied by the British during the war) emerged from the jungle and under Chin Peng, began their terror campaign to take over the country by force. Thus an intense jungle war began, fought by the British, British Commonwealth and Malay forces against the Malayan Communist Party. The Australian Government of the day, along with many others in the Western bloc, was apprehensive about the spread of international communism. Initially there was not much coordination between security forces until Lt.-Gen.Sir Harold Briggs was appointed as Director of Operations in 1949. His war executive committees (including Sir Henry Gurney) coordinated emergency operations, and created 500 new villages for Malayan citizens who lived in remote areas beyond government protection. These citizens had lived in constant fear that the Communists would appear and force them to supply food and money. Travelling was dangerous as a Communist ambush could lurk behind any roadside bush. So, by depriving the insurgents of their crucial sources of supplies and information, the Communists began to attack the new settlements. But the security forces were now fighting on their own ground, and proved to be too strong for the Communists. These forces were able to concentrate on jungle operations, thereby destroying the Communists and their camps. This was the longest continuous military commitment in Australia's history. It was to be the only war the West had won against Communism. The Emergency lasted for twelve years, ending in 1960. Australia suffered 15 killed and 27 wounded in action. From AWMM
    • 1964-1973 AWMM
      Vietnam War AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    Vietnam 215325 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (GNZM) AWMM
      PCNZM. 2000 AWMM
    • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) AWMM
      NZ Gazette Number 1 dated 15 Jan 70 CITATION Chaplain Vercoe was appointed chaplain to the New Zealand troops in South Vietnam in May 1968. He worked and lived with 4th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment/New Zealand (ANZAC) Battalion in the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat. He was also responsible in pastoral duties for the members of 161 Battery Royal New Zealand Artillery, personnel of Headquarters New Zealand Vietnam Force, Saigon, members of the New Zealand Services Medical Team at Qui Nhon and members of the New Zealand Civilian Aid Team. Chaplain Vercoe was extremely popular not only with New Zealand soldiers but also with Australian members of the battalion. His engaging personality, personal integrity, sincerity and wisdom encouraged soldiers to confide in him and many solved their problems with his help. In the wide field of welfare he also displayed his outstanding qualities. He organised and directed two very successful battalion concerts. He was also the leader of the battalion’s Maori concert party. His wholehearted and enthusiastic participation in many social activities further endeared him to all ranks. He took an active part in operations and was many times under enemy fire. During these actions he actively encouraged and maintained the morale of the soldiers. His comfort to the wounded was exemplary. Company commanders, both Australians and New Zealanders, welcomed and vied for Chaplain Vercoe’s presence in their company during operations such was the high esteem in which he was held by all ranks. Throughout his service in South Vietnam, Chaplain Vercoe won the admiration and respect of all members of the battalion by his outstanding example, zeal and dedication to his work. He was an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact. He played a prime role in maintaining the morale of the battalion at an extremely high level. Chaplain Vercoe was an excellent example of an Army chaplain in a war zone. His devotion to duty, demeanour, robustness and compassion reflect great credit on himself and the New Zealand Army AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    Vietnam 1960 AWMM Minister of Religion/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Husband of Doris Te Parekohe; father of Graeme, Andrew, Michael


    Bishop of Aotearoa from 1981. Primate and Archbishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (Pihopa Matamua) in 2004 - to 2006

    Ceremony held at St Faith's Church, Rotorua and his tangi held at Torere Marae

    Read citation for MBE. Later awarded PCNZM. Buried in urupa Ngai Tai, Torere, Bay of Plenty. AWMM


About death

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  • Death
    13 September 2007 AWMM
    Age 79 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    urupa, Ngai Tai, Torere, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: The Independent, 20 September 2007

    Obituary: New Zealand Herald, 15 September 2007 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
    • Subritsky, M. (Ed). (1995). The Vietnam scrapbook: The second ANZAC adventure. Papakura, N.Z.: Three Feathers Publishing Co. AWMM
    • Taylor, A. (1998). The New Zealand roll of honour : New Zealanders who have served their country in peace and war : 150 years, 1845-1995. Auckland, N.Z.: Roll of Honour Publications. AWMM
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
    • Subritsky, M. (Ed). (1995). The Vietnam scrapbook: The second ANZAC adventure. Papakura, N.Z.: Three Feathers Publishing Co. AWMM
      p. 292 AWMM
    • Taylor, A. (1998). The New Zealand roll of honour : New Zealanders who have served their country in peace and war : 150 years, 1845-1995. Auckland, N.Z.: Roll of Honour Publications. AWMM
      p. 1095 AWMM
    • The Independent AWMM
      Obituary: 20 September 2007 AWMM
    • The New Zealand Herald AWMM
      Obituary: 15 September 2007 AWMM
    • Rev. M. L. Underhill ... [et al.] (1950). New Zealand chaplains in the Second World War. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
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