Spy agency boss shocked by Governor-General job offer

Despite being the head of the country's spy agency, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae says he was completely in the dark about being lined up as the next Governor-General.

Despite being the head of the country's spy agency, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae says he was completely in the dark about being lined up as the next Governor-General.

Prime Minister John Key announced today that Lt Gen Mateparae would take over the role when Sir Anand Satyananda's five-year term finished in August.

Mr Key said the 56-year-old had topped a wide list of people considered for the job.

"He has great mana, great leadership, a real compassionate view towards New Zealanders, and I think he'll bring his own style to the office as every Governor-General does."

Lt Gen Mateparae, who was previously head of the Defence Force, would continue in his current role as director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) until June.

Despite his position at GCSB, Lt Gen Mataparae said he was shocked when he was offered the role of Governor-General.

"It just goes to show there are secrets that can be kept," he said.

"When the Prime Minister asked me to meet with him a few weeks ago I thought he wanted to discuss with me my new arrival at the GCSB, you cannot imagine my surprise when he asked me to be New Zealand's next Governor-General."

Lt Gen Mateparae said he had discussed taking on the role with his wife Janine, and their five children.

"It meant we needed to be quite clear in our own minds about what we would do, not just in the next six months, but in the next five years," he said.

"It was just talking through those sorts of things, domestic things, where we were going to live..."

Lt Gen Mateparae said he soon realised it was an opportunity he could not pass up.

"The more I've thought about the role of Governor-General, the more confident I've felt that I could develop some of the things I've been interested in that I've seen as important -- the nation of service to others, the drive for excellence, and harnessing the strengths of young New Zealanders.

"I have an unshakable belief in New Zealanders, there is a kiwi spirit that gets things done with humour, ingenuity, practically and without bias."

Mr Key said Lt Gen Mateparae would also receive a knighthood.

"He will be elevated to the Chancellor of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and is made an additional Knight Grand Companion of the Order so he will be Sir the Right Honourable Jerry Mateparae."

Lt Gen Mataparae will be sworn in on August 31, and there will be a state farewell for Sir Anand on August 17.

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