Honorary Doctorate for defence leader

Former Chief of Defence Forces and Governor-General Designate Jerry Mateparae was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Massey University at yesterday’s graduation ceremony in Palmerston North.

Dr Mateparae (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungungu) has had a long association with the University and supported its provision of professional military education for nearly a decade.

Dr Mateparae says the relationship between the University and the defence forces is about developing the intellectual capability of the country through selected development and education.

“It seems to me that there needs to be a professional body that is grounded on a good education, and a sound tertiary education,” he says.

Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says Dr Mateparae’s championing of education among the defence forces has built a strong relationship with the University and created an enduring partnership.

“Dr Mateparae has had an outstanding career and done an enormous amount to contribute to the defence forces of this nation and worked closely with the University to advance how we contribute to the future of the country,” Mr Maharey says. “He is an ideal recipient.”

Born in Whanganui, Dr Mateparae completed school education at Wanganui High School and enlisted into the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army in June 1972. After three years’ service as a soldier, he graduated in 1976 from the Officer Cadet School at Portsea into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, serving in both battalions of the regiment, and with the New Zealand Special Air Service.

Dr Mateparae served as Chief of Army from 2002-2006 and as Chief of Defence Force in the rank of Lieutenant-General from 2006-2011 – the first officer of Māori descent to hold the rank and appointment.

Lt-Gen Mateparae’s current appointment is director of the Government Communications Security Bureau and he will take the office of Governor-General of New Zealand in August.