A scholar, mentor, and an enthusiast for life, Rotorua-born PhD doctor in tangihanga Vincent Malcolm-Buchanan has been remembered for his high level of excellence.

Malcolm-Buchanan, 52, died on June 1, following an intense illness.

Aligned with Ngāti Whare of Te Whaiti, and Ngāti Pikiao of Rotoiti, Malcolm-Buchanan dazzled tourists on the concert stage as a youth in Rotorua and pursued a career in hospitality.

Known by most as Vincee, he decided to enrol in religious studies at the University of Canterbury after meeting people from overseas in the early 2000s.

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He later transferred to Waikato University and attained a Master of Social Sciences with Honours in 2009.

His thesis explored generational legacies of 21st Century Māori and the issues of conflict and compromise.

Talkative, flamboyant and enthusiastic, his gentle spirit and occasional bouts of seriousness made him popular with students and staff.

His passion and dedication were clear and he was approached to tutor Māori studies, anthropology and religious studies.

With an understanding of excellence, he accepted no less from his students.

He became a pivotal researcher and administrator in the Tangihanga Research Programme which studied dying, and the tikanga and reo of customary practice, grief, bereavement, healing, and end-of-life experience.

The pinnacle of his academic career was with his groundbreaking doctoral study, "A Genealogical Ethnography of Tangihanga: our taonga, our stories".

He completed the PhD and moved to Auckland University, contributing to the Papakainga development project at the School of Engineering, before transferring for a brief time to the Sir James Henare Māori Research Centre.

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His most recent appointment to the Business School was a mixture of his exuberant youth in hospitality and his later years of academic achievement.

Malcolm-Buchanan lectured on contemporary Māori and Pasifika issues and experience to short-term international students, involving them with Māori communities throughout the region.

He is warmly remembered on the many marae he visited with his travelling groups.

During the Tangihanga Project, he received a conference grant in 2011 to present papers in Sydney and Perth, and his doctoral completion was reassured by a bridging grant in 2014.

The same year he was supported by a Fulbright-NPM Travel Award that facilitated his presentations in Albuquerque and San Diego.

Aware that his PhD work was immensely important to the wider understanding of tangihanga in contemporary times, in 2017 he began to prepare a manuscript for publication, helped by an NPM publication support grant.

He was working on this throughout his illness including at the most recent NPM Writing Retreat held six months ago at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.