Chief of Army

CA, Major General Peter Kelly

Major General P.T.A.E (Pete) Kelly, MNZM

Peter Te Aroha Emile Kelly was born in Lower Hutt in July 1965. He received his secondary education at St Patrick’s College, Wellington before enlisting into the New Zealand Army in January 1985.

In December 1985, he graduated into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR), in the rank of Second Lieutenant. After graduation he was posted to 2nd 1st Battalion RNZIR where he held the following appointments of Platoon Commander and Company Second-in-Command.

Major General Kelly was posted to the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Group (NZSAS Gp) in July 1990. Whilst serving with the NZSAS, Major General Kelly has held the following appointments, Troop Commander, Operations Officer, Squadron Commander, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer 2004-06.

Major General Kelly has held the following staff appointments, Assistant Operations Headquarters Land Force Command, Staff Officer Special Operations Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand and at Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force, Deputy Director Land Capability, Director Special Operations and Director Capability Working Groups.

Major General Kelly has seen operational service with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation in Israel, Lebanon and Syria as a Military Observer 1994-95. He was the Squadron Commander of the NZSAS Squadron deployed to Kuwait in 1998 and to East Timor in 1999. Major General Kelly was the Commanding Officer of the NZSAS contingent deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005.

Major General Kelly represented the New Zealand Defence Force as the Military Attaché to the United States posted to Washington, DC over the period 2006-09.

Major General Kelly attended the Australian Defence Force Command & Staff Course in Canberra in 2001 and the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 2011-12.

Major General Kelly has a Masters of Arts in International Security and Strategy from Kings College London, a Masters of Management in Defence Studies from the University of Canberra and a Bachelor of Administrative Leadership from the University of New England.

In September 2012, Peter Kelly was promoted to Brigadier and appointed the Deputy Chief of Army. With effect 31 March 2014, Brigadier Kelly was appointed as the Land Component Commander at Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand.

As a result of Army command changes Brigadier Kelly assumed the role as Acting Chief of Army on 19 June 2015. Brigadier Kelly was promoted to Major General on 2 September 2015 and became Chief of Army on 10 September 2015.

For his service in East Timor, Major General Kelly was recognised in the 2001 New Years Honours list with the award as an Additional Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Major General Kelly is married to Kate and they have two adult children, his interests include reading, sport and classic American cars from the late 60s.

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This page was last reviewed on 7 October 2015, and is current.