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Chief of Defence Force Change of Command Ceremony marks new leadership

The new Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Tony Davies, has been officially appointed at a Change of Command Ceremony at Government House.

06 June, 2024

The event, held on Thursday afternoon, marks the start of a three-year tenure for Air Marshal Davies and a farewell to outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, after six years in command and 48 years of service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) ceremonial elements were on full display, including a Tri-Service 50-person Guard of Honour, and performances by the RNZAF Band and the NZDF’s Māori Cultural Element. 

The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Minister of Defence and other ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence and international security sectors.

The role is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence.

Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro hosted Thursday’s ceremony and reception where she presented Air Marshal Davies with his Warrant of Appointment, and promoted him from Air Vice-Marshal to his new rank. 

During her speech, Dame Cindy congratulated Air Marshal Davies on his appointment. 

“I appreciate you are taking on this role at a time of considerable uncertainties on the global stage - as well as a pivotal time of change and renewal for the people under your command,” she said.

“They will look to you for your leadership in addressing the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. In turn, I trust you will be sustained and energised by their commitment to your vision.”

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Dame Cindy also thanked Air Marshal Short for being a passionate advocate for the NZDF. 

“On a personal level, I have very much appreciated your support and assistance to me – a civilian thrust into the privileged role of Commander-in-Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force – and I thank you, on behalf of all New Zealanders, for your outstanding service to our country, and wish you all the very best for whatever the future may bring.” 

Air Marshal Davies joined the RNZAF in 1984 and has been Vice Chief of Defence Force since 2018. 

Among those in attendance at today’s ceremony were Minister of Defence Judith Collins KC, Chiefs of the Navy, Army and Air Force, and close friends and families of the incoming and outgoing Chiefs of Defence Force.

The day also marked the changeover for the role of Warrant Officer of the Defence Force from Warrant Officer Class 1 Mark ‘Titch’ Mortiboy to Warrant Officer Class 1 Wiremu Moffitt.

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