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Sir Jerry Mateparae To Lead The Healthier Lives National Science Challenge

Sir Jerry Mateparae has just been appointed to be the next Chair of the Healthier LivesHe Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge, officially taking over from the inaugural Chair of Healthier Lives, Dr Jenny McMahon, on 1 June 2020.

“We are delighted that Sir Jerry Mateparae has taken up this appointment upon his return to Aotearoa. He will add a huge amount to this innovative Challenge, which includes some of the top minds in New Zealand research collaborating to solve some of our big health issues in non-communicable diseases,” says Richard Blaikie, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Otago which hosts the Healthier LivesHe Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge.

The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, QSO, KStJ was born in Whanganui in 1954. He is of Māori descent, with tribal affiliations to Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Kahungunu. He also has links to Tūhoe and tribes in the upper Whanganui.

Sir Jerry is married to Lady Janine Mateparae and they have five children. Sir Jerry and Lady Janine have recently returned to New Zealand from his most recent role as New Zealand’s 27th High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

“I am rapt to be joining the Board of Healthier LivesHe Oranga Hauora, and thank Dr Jenny McMahon for the leadership she has given these past five years. I have been keeping track of the work that Professor Jim Mann and Dr Jenny McMahon have been leading to achieve healthier lives for New Zealanders. The research that’s being done to prevent in the first instance or treat if necessary someone suffering from one of our country’s four main non-communicable diseases fits neatly with my interest in an holistic view to living healthier lives.”

Healthier Lives Director Professor Jim Mann says: “We are excited to have Sir Jerry as Chair of our Challenge’s Governance Group and Kahui Māori. He brings enormous expertise and networks to guide our research efforts aimed at equitably improving health and wellbeing for all New Zealanders.”

Current Chairperson, Dr Jenny McMahon, stepped down on 31 May 2020 after five busy years in the role. She was appointed the inaugural Chair in April 2015 prior to the launch of Healthier LivesHe Oranga Hauora NSC at Ōtākou Marae in December that year.

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure for me to be a part of such a team, and to collaborate with people so eminent in their fields,” says Dr McMahon. “It was exciting to see first-hand the research and work being done in New Zealand in these important health areas.”

“Jenny has got us off to a tremendous start,” says Professor Mann. “She is an outstanding Chair and has led a great team to guide us through some significant developments.

“Over the last five years, she has played a pivotal role overseeing the establishment of Healthier Lives, introducing a unique co-governance arrangement with the Kāhui Māori and developing a targeted research strategy for our next phase of operations. Establishing a true partnership between the Governance Group and Kāhui Māori has been a particular highlight, and one that has brought real gains in understanding for our science challenge.”

“Ka tō te ra, ka rere te ra - as one day ends another day begins”

Short bio of Sir Jerry Mateparae

Sir Jerry Mateparae has spent almost 50 years in public service. He has attended military and civilian leadership and management course, including courses with the New Zealand Institute of Directors and Institute of Strategic Leadership. He has a Master of Arts with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato, and was recognised by that University as one of its 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.

Honours and Awards

New Zealand Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2011

New Zealand Companion of the Queen’s Service Order 2011

New Zealand Knight of Justice of the Order of St John 2011

Singapore Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) 2011

Tonga Knight Grand Cross Order of Tonga 2015

Timor-Leste Grande Colar de Timor-Leste 2016

Short bio of Jenny McMahon

Besides her role as inaugural Healthier Lives Chair, Dr Jenny McMahon holds leadership roles with 10 companies as either Chair or Director. She has a background in nursing and nutrition, and gained her PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Otago in 2006. In her previous career, Jenny held the post of Regional Nutritionist for Africa with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Jenny is actively involved in community service, having worked with the Red Cross for over 30 years and served as the National President of New Zealand Red Cross from 2012-2018. She was named a Counsellor of Honour by the New Zealand Red Cross in 2018, and is its Patron. She was awarded an Outstanding Service Award by the New Zealand Red Cross in 1989 and in 1991, received the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Besides these awards, Jenny is also an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM), a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

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