Central Otago man named to head army

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
Army Chief
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: Major General Arthur Gawn has said the opportunity to lead the NZ Army is "a little surreal."

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A Central Otago man has been named as chief of the New Zealand Army.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman announced yesterday that Major General Arthur "Dave" Gawn, of Ophir, would command the army.

Mr Coleman said General Gawn "exhibited the strategic and leadership characteristics required" to lead the army.

The role became vacant in December when Major General Tim Keating was appointed vice-chief of defence.

General Gawn, a former Dunstan High student who enlisted in the New Zealand Army in 1978, was trained as an officer in Australia and served in various leadership roles in Singapore, Bosnia, and East Timor.

He was awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 1996 New Year's Honours List.

In 2010 General Gawn took the position of deputy chief of the army and in April 2011 was promoted to his current rank and assumed his position as commander joint forces New Zealand.

He said he was looking forward to leading the New Zealand Army.

"Whilst growing up on a small farm in Ophir, being a professional soldier was the last thing on my mind. Thirty-five years later, being given the opportunity to lead our army is a little surreal. These are exciting and challenging times to be in a leadership role within defence as we shape our future looking out to 2035 and I am honoured to serve the soldiers of Ngati Tumatauenga as their commander," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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