Chief of Army (New Zealand)

Chief of Army (CA) is the effective commander of the New Zealand Army, responsible to the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) for raising, training and sustaining those forces necessary to meet agreed government outputs. The CA acts as principal advisor to the CDF on Army matters, though for operations the Army's combat units fall under the command of the Land Component Commander, Joint Forces New Zealand. The rank associated with the position is major general, and CAs are generally appointed on a three-year term.[1]

Chief of Army
John Boswell

since 1 September 2018
StyleMajor General
Member ofNew Zealand Defence Force
Reports toChief of Defence Force
Term lengthThree years (renewable)
Inaugural holderMajor General
Sir Alexander Godley
Formation7 December 1910

The position was originally formed as Commandant and General Officer Commanding the New Zealand Military Forces in 1910, changing to Chief of the General Staff in 1937 and, finally, CA in 2002.[2] Major General John Boswell, the incumbent CA, has held the post since 1 September 2018.[3]


  This along with the * (asterisk) indicates that the individual was subsequently promoted to lieutenant general and appointed Chief of Defence Force.

The following list chronologically records those who have held the post of Chief of Army or its preceding positions, with rank and honours as at the completion of the individual's term.[2]

RankNamePostnominalsTerm beganTerm ended
Commandant and General Officer Commanding the New Zealand Military Forces
Major GeneralSir Alexander GodleyKCMG7 December 191010 September 1914
Major GeneralSir Alfred RobinKCMG, CB11 September 19149 December 1919
Major GeneralSir Edward ChaytorKCMG, KCVO, CB10 December 191931 April 1924
Major GeneralCharles MelvillCB, CMG, DSO1 May 19246 December 1925
Major GeneralRobert YoungCB, CMG, DSO7 December 192531 March 1931
Major GeneralSir William Sinclair-BurgessKBE, CB, CMG, DSO1 April 193131 March 1937
Chief of the General Staff
Major GeneralSir John DuiganKBE, CB, DSO1 April 193731 May 1941
Lieutenant GeneralSir Edward PuttickKCB, DSO & Bar1 August 194131 December 1945
Major GeneralSir Norman WeirKBE, CB1 January 194631 March 1949
Major GeneralKeith Lindsay StewartCB, DSO, OBE1 April 194931 March 1952
Major GeneralWilliam GentryCB, CBE, DSO & Bar1 April 195214 August 1955
Major GeneralSir Stephen WeirKBE, CB, DSO & Bar15 August 195530 August 1960
Major GeneralLeonard Thornton*CB, CBE1 September 196031 March 1965
Major GeneralWalter McKinnonCB, CBE1 April 196531 March 1967
Major GeneralRobert DawsonCB, CBE, DSO1 April 196731 March 1970
Major GeneralRichard Webb*CBE1 April 197028 September 1971
Major GeneralLeslie PearceCB, CBE29 September 197130 September 1973
Major GeneralRobin HollowayCB, CBE1 October 197314 November 1976
Major GeneralRonald HassettCB, CBE15 November 197615 November 1978
Major GeneralBrian PoanangaCB, CBE16 November 197815 November 1981
Major GeneralR. G. WilliamsCB, MBE16 November 198111 December 1984
Major GeneralJohn Mace*CB, OBE12 December 198430 November 1987
Major GeneralDon McIverOBE1 December 198728 February 1989
Major GeneralBruce MeldrumCB, OBE1 March 198929 February 1992
Major GeneralAnthony Birks*CB, OBE1 March 199224 February 1995
Major GeneralPiers ReidCBE25 February 199525 February 1998
Major GeneralMaurice DodsonCBE, MC26 February 1998February 2002
Major GeneralJerry MateparaeONZMFebruary 2002mid-2002
Chief of Army
Major GeneralJerry Mateparae*ONZMmid-200230 April 2006
Major GeneralLou GardinerONZM1 May 200630 April 2009
Major GeneralRhys Jones*1 May 200923 January 2011
Major GeneralTim Keating*MNZMFebruary 2011December 2012
Major GeneralDave GawnMBE25 February 20139 September 2015
Major GeneralPeter Kelly[4]MNZM10 September 201531 August 2018
Major GeneralJohn Boswell[3]DSD1 September 2018Incumbent


  1. "The New Zealand Army Leadership Team". New Zealand Army. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  2. "Chronological List of New Zealand Army Chiefs". Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007.
  3. "New Chiefs Appointed for All Three Branches of the Armed Forces". The New Zealand Herald. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  4. "Chief of Army". Our Leaders. New Zealand Army. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
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