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New Chief of Defence Force Welcomes His Appointment

New Chief of Defence Force Welcomes His Appointment

The new Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Major General Rhys Jones says he’s looking forward to the challenges his new role will bring.

“With the release of the White Paper the New Zealand Defence Force has an opportunity to transform itself into a force shaped for the next 25 years and more. With such a great organisation and such talented and dynamic people we will succeed.”

MAJ GEN Jones has thanked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Cabinet for giving him this opportunity and paid tribute to his family who have helped him throughout his career.

“My wife and children have had to live with the stresses and strains of being a military family; the constant moves and long periods of me being away during critical times in their lives.”

He has also thanked the current CDF, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae and his colleagues, past and present in the NZDF, for their assistance.

“These are the people who gave me the professional knowledge and experience to be where I am today and who recognised a faint glimmer of ability and took it upon themselves to teach and support me.

LT GEN Jerry Mateparae has passed on his congratulations.

“MAJ GEN Jones has shown exceptional leadership qualities throughout his distinguished career with the New Zealand Army. Most recently as Chief of Army he has been a leading figure on the Defence Force’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

Through the Government’s Defence White Paper the Defence Force is entering a new era where we are being encouraged to redistribute our resources from the ‘middle’ and ‘back’ to enhance our frontline capabilities. Meanwhile, we must continue to deliver in the operational space, and be ready for the next challenge. I know MAJ GEN Jones is focused on the opportunities and challenges facing the Defence Force and is committed to ensuring we are a strong, vibrant and professional Force, now and into the future. “

MAJ GEN Jones will officially take up this position on January 24.

Rear Admiral Jack Steer, the Vice Chief of Defence Force, has been appointed for a further two years from 2 February 2011. He has served in the role since February 2008.


Major General Richard Rhys Jones was born in Timaru, New Zealand on 2 May 1960. He was educated at Wanganui Boy’s College and attained University Entrance.

Major General Jones enlisted into the New Zealand Army in December 1978 and attended the Royal Military College, Duntroon Australia from 1979 to 1982. He graduated into the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps at the rank of Lieutenant in December 1982, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During his career he has attended staff college at Fort Leavenworth, USA, and higher defence college at the Australian Defence College. He has also attained a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies from La Trobe University (Melbourne) as well as a Diploma in Qualitative Futures.

His staff appointments have been mainly within the Capability Development area, culminating in his appointment as the head of the NZDF Development Branch.

Major General Jones has held a variety of training posts. In 1987/88 he was the New Zealand Instructor at the Australian Defence Force Academy (Officer Cadets). From 1992 to 1995 he was an instructor at New Zealand’s Tactical School, becoming the Chief Instructor for his last 18 months. He has also been Chief Instructor at the School of Armour and has been the New Zealand Directing Staff at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, part of the Australian Defence College.

Major General Jones has had operational duty in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, as an observer, then Operations Officer with the Observer Group Lebanon.

Major General Jones has commanded at every senior level. He was the Commanding Officer of New Zealand’s armoured regiment; Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles (QAMR), and at Formation level the Commander 3rd Land Force Group based in the South Island of New Zealand. He was Land Component Commander within Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, and then in October 2007 Major General Jones became the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand on promotion to Major General. He was appointed the Chief of Army on 1 May 2009.

Major General Jones is married to Debbie and they have three children. His hobbies include reading history, war gaming and black powder shooting.

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