Prime Minister Jacinda Arden this afternoon announced Andrew Coster as the next Commissioner of Police.
Ardern said Coster had a "passion for a police force that knows its strength lies in what it can achieve with the community it serves".
Existing Commissioner Mike Bush will step down in April after serving six years over two terms.
Bush welcomed the appointment and said he was "happy to be handing over the leadership to someone of Andrew's calibre".
The shortlist of four contenders - John Tims, Sandra Venables, Coster and Mike Clement - were interviewed by the State Services Commission selection panel in December.
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A 'huge honour' to be the top cop
Coster said he is proud to be a police officer and that it's a "huge honour" to have been selected for the role of Commissioner.
He said he looked forward to leading the organisation.
"It's my intent to carry on a legacy of transformation focused on high performance that has been put in place under the leadership of Commissioner Bush."
Ardern said Coster was the right candidate to take the police force into the future.
She credited him for his inclusivity, positivity and community focus.
An Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation involving Clement had "no bearing" on her decision and said he was an "outstanding police officer" and a "man of great integrity".
The Prime Minister wouldn't be drawn on the "final elements" of the selection process or whether she'd received advice from the SCC.
"It was my decision."
Ardern said Coster's age also wasn't a factor and said "in the end" Coster was the candidate who could take the police force forward, including facing its challenges of organised crime.
Coster is 'an impressive, intelligent human'
Bush today welcomed Coster's appointment.
"It has been my privilege to lead NZ Police for the past six years and I know that Andrew has the same passion and commitment to this organisation that I do.
"I am happy to be handing over the leadership to someone of Andrew's calibre."
Bush said Coster had the support of the whole police organisation behind him.
Private investigator and former police officer Tim McKinnel who successfully fought for compensation for the wrongfully imprisoned Teina Pora also spoke highly of Coster.
McKinnel said on Twitter that Coster had the potential to change the guard of the police and called the Commissioner-in-waiting "an impressive, intelligent human".
Who is Andrew Coster?
Coster, who joined the police in 1996, was the youngest of the four shortlisted candidates and has an LLB (Hons) and a masters degree in public management.
Currently an acting Deputy Commissioner, Coster has frontline experience as the area commander for Auckland Central, followed by a shorter stint as the Southern District Commander, which covers Otago and Southland.
He was personally thanked by Police Minister Stuart Nash in Parliament during the final reading of the bill which banned semi-automatic firearms following the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch.
"Andrew takes up this leadership role at a time when the Government is making our communities safer by adding 2,000 new police officers to the frontline and reforming gun laws to stop firearms from falling into the wrong hands," Ardern said today.
"I know he'll lead a team of 13,000 people across the country with positivity, inclusion and integrity.
"I first met Andy in his role in Central Auckland. I've had the opportunity to see him work on policy issues such as recent gun law reforms, but most of all I've observed his passion for a police force that knows its strength lies in what it can achieve with the community it serves.
Ardern thanked Bush for leading the police for six years, including during the "significant affront to the safety of New Zealanders" on the March 15 terror attacks.
Nash said Coster had a strong history of accomplishments following his graduation from Police College in 1997, including serving in frontline and investigative roles in Counties Manukau and Auckland.
"He rose to Area Commander in Auckland City Central before becoming the District Commander for the Southern Police District in 2013.
"On moving to Police National Headquarters in 2015 he was Assistant Commissioner, Strategy and Transformation. Before taking up his current role, he was Acting Deputy Commissioner, Resource Management.
"He has been a Solicitor in the office of the Crown Solicitor in Auckland, and more recently was seconded as Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Justice," Nash said.
Coster has been appointed for a five-year term from April 3, 2020.