Sir Jerry Mateparae was born in Whanganui. Of Māori descent, his tribal aﬃliations are to Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. He also has links to Ngai Tūhoe.
Sir Jerry has spent almost 50 years in public service. He enlisted into the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army as a soldier in 1972 , and later went on to command the New Zealand Army as Chief of Army in 2002, and the New Zealand Defence Force as Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force with the rank of Lieutenant General in 2006. Retiring from the New Zealand Defence Force in January 2011, he was appointed as Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau.
After a distinguished military career, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae was sworn in as New Zealand’s 20th Governor-General for a five year term on 31 August 2011. More recently, Sir Jerry was appointed New Zealand’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in March 2017.
Sir Jerry attended the Institute for Strategic Leadership’s first Strategic Leadership Programme in 2001 and was appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute in 2020. He has a Master of Arts with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato, and was recognised as one of their distinguished alumni in 2009. In May 2011, Sir Jerry received an honorary doctorate from Massey University.
He was awarded Singapore’s highest military award, the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) [Distinguished Service Order (Military)], from the President of Singapore, S R Nathan, in May 2011. In June that year, at Buckingham Palace, he was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of New Zealand as a Grand Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. At the same time he became a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order.
Grand Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit 2011
Companion of the Queen’s Service Order 2011
Knight of Justice of the Order of St John 2011
Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) 2011
Knight Grand Cross Order of Tonga 2015
Grande Colar de Timor-Leste 2016