Lady Janine Mateparae has received a special honour from Prime Minister John Key at a state lunch to farewell Sir Jerry Mateparae as Governor General.

She has been made an additional companion of the Queen's Service Order for her service to the community.

Key has presented her with the insignia at a state lunch at Parliament.

Sir Jerry's five-year term ends next week and Dame Patsy Reddy will replace him as the Queen's representative in New Zealand.

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Sir Jerry, a former Chief of Defence Force, was given a military guard of honour before having an official photo taken with Key and the cabinet.

In a speech at the state lunch, Key said Sir Jerry was highly regarded as a leader and he exemplified the New Zealand Defence Force values of courage, commitment, comradeship and integrity.

His humble nature had served him well.

He had engaged with New Zealanders from all walks of life, played an important role representing New Zealand overseas and filled a hugely important constitutional role.

Lady Janine had not only supported Sir Jerry in his duties but had conducted her own community programme focused on positive outcomes for health and well-being.

"They have been great team and I am sure Sir Jerry will be the first to acknowledge that his tasks would have been very difficult to carry out so effectively without the steadfast support of Lady Janine."

The couple was presented with a gift, a painting by Bee Doughty-Pratt name Fractured Light.

The Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae inspecting the Royal Honour Guard during his State farewell at Parliament. Photo/ Mark Mitchell
The Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae inspecting the Royal Honour Guard during his State farewell at Parliament. Photo/ Mark Mitchell

Speaking about the highlights of his term, Sir Jerry said that as well as meeting the Queen several times and attending her 90th birthday commemorations in London, it had been an extraordinary experience to host the first, second, third and fifth in line to the throne: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Prince Harry (Princess Charlotte is fourth in line).

"I have seen at first hand that the Palace is intensely conscious of the Sovereigns role as Head of State in each of Her Majesty's 16 realms.

"It has confirmed for me that, like each of the other 15 realms, we in New Zealand have developed our constitutional arrangements and conventions in our own way to suit our own character and our own aspirations for our nation," he said.

"In a country not totally at easy with high ceremony and fulsome formality, you have represented Her Majesty, our Queen, in a quintessentially Kiwi way.Labour leader Andrew Little

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"Our system of constitutional monarchy and representative Government has much for us to value."

Opposition leader Andrew Little paid tribute to the way in which Sir Jerry had conducted himself.

"In a country not totally at easy with high ceremony and fulsome formality, you have represented Her Majesty, our Queen, in a quintessentially Kiwi way.

"In the relatively short time I have been Leader of the Opposition, I've had the privilege to see you and meet you at a number of important events.

"What I've seen is a governor-general at ease with his people, able to connect with New Zealanders from all walks life, who has carried his vice-regal responsibilities with due solemnity, but with humility, with the correct level of Kiwi mischievous humour, and an appropriate level of diplomacy."