Auckland-born and Pukekohe-raised Brigadier Martyn Dunne has been promoted to Major-General and will command the Defence Force's new joint operational headquarters.

Major-General Dunne, a year ago New Zealand's top soldier in East Timor, was promoted in the week before Christmas. He will manage the transition to the new headquarters, which will be in operation not later than July 1.

The joint force headquarters will include all three operational arms of the Defence Force, the Army, Navy and Air Force, and will control overseas deployments as well as exercises and training activities from its Trentham base near Wellington.

Major-General Dunne, to be known as Commander, Joint Forces NZ, will have the same rank as the chiefs of the other three services but will be answerable to the Chief of the Defence Force.


"What the single service chiefs are doing is assigning all their force elements ... to me," said Major-General Dunne.

"It will be my responsibility to answer to the Chief of the Defence Force for any contingency that they might be employed on."

Major-General Dunne, aged 50, has been in the Army 25 years. He served in New Zealand's deployment to the Commonwealth monitoring force in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in 1980, and in the Special Air Service for six years.

He has been director of defence joint operations and brigade commander at Linton.

"My background is in operations, but in our game you have to be prepared to work in all sorts of environments, both strategic and operational."

His new role, involving him in operations both on the water and in the air, will bring back his Special Air Service memories.

Major-General Dunne went to school at St Peters College, Epsom.