Maori is new primate

Published June 1, 2004

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has elected its second Maori primate, Archbishop Te Whakahuihui Vercoe.

Archbishop Vercoe, 75, was installed as primate on May 14. He succeeds Bishop John Paterson of Auckland, who became primate in 1998.

Formerly the head of the Maori Anglican church, Archbishop Vercoe is the second Maori to become primate of New Zealand, but is the first head of the indigenous church to become primate.

Bishop Vercoe is active in the international church, particularly at the World Council of Churches Central Committee and the Anglican Indigenous Network.

In 2000 he was the sole recipient of the Principal Commander of the Order of Merit – the equivalent of a knighthood – for his service to the Maoris and his community.

Ordained a priest in 1952, Bishop Vercoe headed the Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa (the Maori Anglican church) since 1981. He served in pastorates in the North and South Islands and was an army chaplain in Vietnam.


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