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Governor-General becomes the 'iGov'

Friday 7 Sep 2012 4:48 p.m.

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By Emma Jolliff

The Queen uses a sword, but Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparae carries something more modern - an iPad.

He tweets, too, and so enthusiastically that he has been dubbed the “iGov”.

Sir Jerry says he prefers to use his iPad over paper when he’s giving speeches because it’s more convenient, and less likely to flutter in the breeze.

“I’m renowned for getting pages mixed up, and then you have to start making it up,” he says.

When he accepted the role he was encouraged to modernise by staff.

“When I arrived staff said, 'Are you comfortable with using this?' And I said, well I’ve never used it before but always happy to give something a go. I used it for my swearing-in speech.”

And he has not yet had any glitches to leave him swearing mid-speech.

“It lights up people's eyes when they see it, and mostly with older people, because there are a lot of older people using technology.”

And it is not just speeches; he also has hundreds of followers on Twitter and Facebook.

“I think it provides a much closer link,” he says.

He keeps an eye on what his counterparts are doing in other countries, but as the Queen's representative he does not get any guidance from the palace. It is just his staff who keep him in check.

“I use texting language, and the staff have said you can't really use that language on Facebook and Twitter.”

So how does he feel about being dubbed the "iGov"?

“The association with the internet and technology, that's pretty cool,” he says.

Which may explain where the “i” in “Mataparae” really comes from.

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