Family, Defence Force farewell a ‘top bloke’

The private service for Sergeant Wayne Taylor at Papakura Military Camp.

Family, friends and colleagues of Sergeant Wayne Taylor bid him farewell today in a private service held at Papakura Military Camp in Auckland.

Sergeant Taylor, known as “Tails”, died during a maritime counter-terrorism training exercise off the Coromandel Peninsula on 13 October.

Brigadier Chris Parsons, Deputy Chief of Army, attended the service this morning.

“Tails and I served together in Afghanistan. He was an outstanding family man and a skilled operator,” Brigadier Parsons said.

“It hurts when we lose one of our own. Tails served his country with honour and to a professional standard only few attain. It is a deeply sad privilege to be at Papakura, to pay our respects to his family and see him join New Zealand’s pantheon of warriors who shall never grow old.”

A spokesperson for the family said: “He was a loving husband, a devoted father, a loyal friend and a trustworthy colleague.

“He loved his Army life, and worked hard to get where he was — but he also loved a good family adventure, not only with his immediate family but with the extended whanau of friends.

“His untimely passing has left a huge hole. He will be sorely missed.”

Sergeant Taylor joined the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment as a member of the Army Reserve in 1993. He was one of the early pioneers of the Army’s Commandos and he deployed on operations to East Timor and Afghanistan during his military career.

He is survived by his wife and their four children.

Colleagues of Sergeant Wayne Taylor place his beret and medals on his casket during a private service at Papakura Military Camp.