Sir Jerry Mateparae has been confirmed as the next High Commissioner to London, taking over as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully made the announcement today, saying the appointment of the former Governor-General underlined the significance New Zealand placed on its relationship with the United Kingdom.

Sir Jerry had been tipped for the role.

Sir Jerry will take over from Sir Lockwood Smith early next year. The Brexit vote means New Zealand will need to secure a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom as well as the European Union.

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"New Zealand is working with the UK on the shape of our post-Brexit relationship and the new High Commissioner will be responsible for leading this effort," McCully said.

"He will be replacing Sir Lockwood Smith as High Commissioner and I would like to acknowledge Sir Lockwood's service and the work he has done to further the relationship between New Zealand and the UK.

Sir Jerry was Governor General from 2011 until August this year.

Before his time as Governor-General, Sir Jerry had a brief stint as head of the GCSB and before that served as Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force and Chief of Army.