Eulogy for Major Vercoe.
Major Vercoe died at his home at Otaramarae Rotorua. As an elder of rank and prestige of Ngāti Pikiao he was a well known figure throughout Aotearoa. A noted leader among his people by whom he was well loved and respected. He was one of many great orators of the Māori race, who was equally at home with the Queen's English and with his own mother tongue.
Major Vercoe was chairman of the tribal executive of the confederation of the Te Arawa tribes, a former member and chairman of the Te Arawa Trust Board, and supervisor of the Rotoma land development scheme, also advisor to the Māori Affairs Department. The late Major was a noted sportsman. At rugby he represented the Bay of Plenty against Auckland at the age of 13. At the age of sixteen he played for a NZ Army team in South Africa. Major Vercoe was also a leading light for his Kahukura club in Rotorua. He rode the first winner for the Rotorua Cup.
As a soldier he was equally renowned served in the Boer War when he was only fifteen,and at the age of seventeen was already a returned serviceman with a DSM. In 1914 he sailed with the first Māori Contingent and after gallant service at Gallipoli he transferred to the Waikato regiment and was awarded the DSO.
Major Vercoe has lived a full life always at the forefront of his people. For his signal services to his race and to his country Her Majesty the Queen conferred upon him the OBE during her 1953/54 tour to NZ.
Anei te ki a Kepa Ehau....Haere e hoa, kua whawhai tia e koe te whawhai pai
Kua oma tia e koe te omama
Haere mai ite rangi kite powhiri mou
Haere mai e te hunga whakapai a toku matua
Nohoia te rangatiratanga ote rangi
Potaea o te karauna
Kua oti noa atu te whakarite mou
No te orokohanga mai ote ao
Farewell my friend you have fought the good fight
You have run a good race
I have come today to bid you farewell
Welcome to the blessed company of the Father
Dwell in the kingdom of heaven
Don the crown of life
Long established for you
From time immortal.
Eulogy for Kouma Te Omeka Tapsell.
Kouma Te Omeka Tapsell JP and City Councillor, was the husband of Enid Tapsell. He was the younger son of Retreat Tapsell, and a grandson of the original Captain Tapsell, and of the chieftainess poet Hine Turama born on Mokoia Island, and met her death 100 years ago during the Land Wars, at the famous battle at Orakau.
Kouma was a returned soldier of World War One having fought at Gallipoli.
Major Vercoe's death closes an epoch of one of the most colourful pages of Māori History. He is survived by his wife and five sons, he will be mourned not only by his family but by both Māori and Pakeha communities.
His body lies in state at Tunohopu Marae Rotorua.