Delivering a modern, relevant, professional Defence Force

CDF - Lieutenant General Jeremiah (Jerry) Mateparae, ONZM
Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, ONZM

4 February 2009

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae says he welcomes the opportunity to continue contributing to the security of New Zealand and leading the New Zealand Defence Force. 

The Government today announced that Lt Gen Mateparae had been reappointed for a further year as Chief of Defence Force.

“Over the next 12 months I expect the New Zealand Defence Force to continue dedicating itself to multi-agency operational activities within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as well as helping build peace and stability in overseas operations, in furtherance of New Zealand’s foreign policy goals,” says Lt Gen Mateparae.

“At the same time, we will need to show that we can deliver a modern, relevant and professional Defence Force. The delivery of new and updated equipment, especially major new capabilities for our Navy and Air Force, and continued success within our recruitment and retention programmes, will result in a Defence Force that New Zealanders can continue to be proud of.

“I look forward to assisting the Government with expert military advice during the process of developing a Defence White Paper during 2009. The Defence White Paper will define the defence capabilities required to meet New Zealand's security interests for the future.“

Lt Gen Mateparae acknowledged the massive contribution made by the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson, and Chief of Army, Major General Lou Gardiner, who will both retire at the end of April 2009. 

“Rear Admiral Ledson has worked hard to enhance the reputation of the Navy at home and abroad,” says Lt Gen Mateparae. “His successful leadership of the Navy has been marked by significant challenges as the Navy has adjusted towards operating 13 ships including seven new ships, on completion of Project Protector.

“He was responsible for generating new maritime capabilities, including mine and amphibious warfare, which have enhanced the outputs of the Defence Force and the naval response options available to the Government. In the wider Defence Force context, Admiral Ledson has provided leadership to the Infrastructure Change and Logistics Change Committees.

“Additionally, if you reflect on the engagement the Navy has at Waitangi Day now, you will see a marked change over recent years. During his watch, the Navy has reaffirmed its role at Waitangi and in doing so improved its historical relationship with Nga Puhi.”

Lt Gen Mateparae says that Major General Gardiner has led the Army during a time of high operational tempo; and at the same time been involved in introducing new military equipment and rebuilding professional military competence throughout the Army.

“It was no small achievement that under his command the Army sustained simultaneous commitments to New Zealand Defence Force operations in the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and Afghanistan; and met a request to assist the restoration of law and order in Tonga in the aftermath of rioting in November 2006.

“Behind the scenes his impact has been no less significant as he managed personnel challenges both in the Army and, through his chairmanship of the Defence Transformation Human Resources Change Committee, across the New Zealand Defence Force.”

Lt Gen Mateparae welcomed the confirmation that Chief of Air Force, Air Vice- Marshal Graham Lintott, has also been reappointed for a further 12 months, providing added continuity among the group of Defence Force’s most senior leaders.


Media Contact: Commander Shaun Fogarty, Director Defence Communications Group, 04 496 0299.

Notes for Editors:

Rear Admiral David Ledson
Rear Admiral David Ledson will retire as Chief of Navy on 30 April 2009 after serving five years as head of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Rear Admiral Ledson joined the RNZN in 1967 and held a wide range of staff and seagoing appointments before being promoted Rear Admiral and appointed Chief of Naval Staff (since re-titled Chief of Navy) in 2004.

Major General Lou Gardiner
Major General Lou Gardiner will retire as Chief of Army on 30 April 2009 after serving three years as head of the New Zealand Army.  Major General Gardiner joined the New Zealand Army in 1971 and held a wide range of staff and command appointments in New Zealand and overseas before being appointed Chief of Army in 2006.

This page was last reviewed on 5 October 2010.