Is Jerry Mateparae a good choice for Governor-General?
Former Defence Force head Jerry Mateparae has been named as the new Governor-General.
Mateparae will replace incumbent Sir Anand Satyanand.
Mateparae, 56, is a highly-regarded former military leader who joined the army in 1972 and rose through the ranks to become the chief of the Defence Force.
He stood down just months ago to head the top secret Government Communications Security Bureau.
His appointment comes as a major surprise, as he has been in the GCSB role for little more than a month and his name was not among those most regularly floated as the successor to Sir Anand Satyanand, whose term ends in August.
Prime Minister John Key said there was no conflict of interest with Mateparae remaining on at GCSB.
Mateparae was the first Maori Defence Force chief and will be just the second Maori Governor-General.
"I believe he will bring great mana and a wide range of qualities to this role, including judgement, energy and an enthusiasm for encouraging excellence in others," Key said.
"As Governor-General, he will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of New Zealanders and develop an active programme in the community.
"Jerry has served New Zealand with dedication and honour throughout his career, and I am delighted that he has agreed to continue that service in a new, broader role."
Mateparae said he was very surprised when asked to be Governor-General.
He thought he was being called into Key's office to talk about his arrival at GCSB.
"I look forward to serving our country and New Zealanders."
"You cannot imagine my surprise," he said.
Mateparae said he and his wife still had two teenage boys at home and they would keep him well and truly grounded.
Key said Mateparae would also receive a knighthood.
"He will be elevated to the Chancellor of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and is made an additional Knight Grand Companion of the Order so he will be Sir the Right Honourable Jerry Mateparae."
Sir Anand's term ends on August 23.
Key thanked him for his dedication and service, and said there would be a state farewell for him on August 17.
Mateparae will begin his five-year term on August 31.
Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae is from Whanganui and of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kahungunu descent.
He and wife Janine have five children.
Mateparae has a Master of Arts in international relations and strategic studies with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato, and is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management.
In the 1999 New Years Honours he was made an Additional Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services in Bougainville.
His Defence Force biography says his interests include reading, watching sport, homeopathy and keeping fit.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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