31 Aug 2011

Sir Jerry Mateparae sworn-in as Governor-General

6:58 pm on 31 August 2011

Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae has been sworn-in as New Zealand's Governor-General at Parliament.

Sir Jerry, the former Chief of the Defence Force and director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, takes over from Sir Anand Satyanand.


He became the country's 20th Govenor-General at a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon officiated by Chief Justice Sian Elias and said it is an extraordinary honour and a privilege to take on the role.

Sir Jerry arrived at Parliament wearing a not-so traditional pin-striped Maori cloak meant to represent modern New Zealand.

The mixing of indigenous and European culture was reflected throughout the day's ceremonies. Sir Jerry is affiliated with the Ngati Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe and Upper Whanagui River tribes.

As well as a full Maori welcome, a military guard of honour and band was on hand to see one of its own become the Queen's representative in New Zealand.

In front of a crowd of at least 1000, Sir Jerry swore the oath of allegiance to the Queen and the Oath of Office in Maori and English.

Prime Minister John Key told the crowd the Governor-General is a constitutional lynch-pin who ensures the smooth running of the system of Government.

"Sir Jerry's service to New Zealand to date has been exemplary. He is a warm, engaging and highly regarded New Zealander. I believe he will bring great mana and a wide range of qualities to this role."

'Ordinary folk'


As well as signing Acts of Parliament, the Governor-General formally appoints ministers and issues the writ that triggers elections. But the role is largely a ceremonial one, with the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Government of the day.

He paid tribute to his predecessors, including Sir Paul Reeves who passed away earlier in August, and said he and his wife, Lady Janine, look forward to becoming better known by New Zealanders.

"You will see we are ordinary folk, who have been given a special opportunity. It is our hope that we can encourage people to think about now New Zealanders can make a difference.

"We look forward to promoting and celebrating the things that positively unite us as New Zealanders - our virtues, our heritage, our way of life and our future."

Sir Jerry Mateparae will serve a five-year term as Governor-General.