25 Mar 2013

Air Marshal remembered as great Defence leader

6:37 pm on 25 March 2013

The funeral of Air Marshal Sir Ewan Jamieson, the former Chief of Defence during the ANZUS crisis in the mid-1980s, was held in Taupo on Monday.

Sir Ewan died on Thursday at the age of 82.

He negotiated with the United States for it to send a warship here but the Government refused to let that happen, thereby sparking a crisis which eventually saw the end of the ANZUS treaty.

Sir Ewan became the military head of the New Zealand armed forces in 1979 after being the Chief of Air Staff.

He joined the airforce in 1948.

When he took on the role as Chief of Defence, Sir Ewan was the first New Zealander to head of the armed forces not to have served in World War II.

The election of the Lange Government in 1984 and its anti nuclear policy saw relations with the United States plummet to an all-time low, putting the Chief of Defence in a difficult position.

A former Secretary of Defence, Gerald Hensley, says Sir Ewan will be remembered as a great leader of the defence force.

"He had clarity of thinking, vigour, and complete uprightness. He was trusted by politicians across the board, which is no mean feat in Defence in New Zealand. Both Sir Robert Muldoon and David Lange, to my own knowledge, on several occasions spoke with great respect of his advice and of his complete trustworthiness."

Mr Hensley says Sir Ewan privately did not agree with the Government's stance.