Sir Jerry Mateparae gets state send-off as Governor-General

Sir Jerry Mateparae gets state send-off as Governor-General

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae only has one regret in his five years as the Queen's representative - not getting to all the far-flung places of New Zealand.

Sir Jerry was given his official state farewell on Wednesday as his term approaches its end, and it had all the pomp and ceremony you'd expect.

He was welcomed with a haka powhiri, royal salute and artillery salute on Parliament's forecourt, where Sir Jerry inspected the Royal Guard for the last time.

In his speech at the state farewell luncheon at Parliament, Sir Jerry recounted events he'd been grateful to experience and the people he'd been able to meet, from ordinary Kiwis to Pope Francis.

As well as what he and wife Lady Janine had seen and done over the years, there was mention of what wasn't to be.

"I have visited the realm of New Zealand - Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands, and the sub-Antarctic Islands. I have seen how unique, how diverse and how stunning the realm of New Zealand is.

"Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams," he said.

In December Sir Jerry underwent surgery to have a heart valve replaced, picked up during a routine check-up.

In July, Sir Jerry and Lady Janine had lunch with an illustrious and exclusive group of ex-Governors General who "shared some tips with us for life after Government House".

"Unlike when we were coming into this role, there is little trepidation about what lies ahead," he says.

What may lie ahead is Sir Jerry's highly rumoured new post as the next UK High Commissioner, replacing the outgoing Sir Lockwood Smith. However, nothing has been officially announced.

Sir Jerry will be replaced by Dame Patsy Reddy as Governor-General with an official ceremony in September.