The Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Tim Keating has been given the prestigious Haane Manahi sword to carry for the people of Te Arawa.
About 100 people attended the ceremony at Tamatekapua marae in Rotorua today.
The sword of valour - once owned by King George VI - recognises the bravery of Te Arawa descendant, Haane Manahi, in the second World War.
In May 1943, Lance Sergeant Manahi, of the 28th Maori Battalion's B Company, fought in the battle of Takrouna Ridge in Tunisia, North Africa.
The people of Te Arawa and the Manahi whanau presented the sword and patu to the Chief of Defence to hold for the duration of his tenure.
Leiutenant General, Tim Keating, says it was a moving ceremony.
He says it is about sharing the understanding of what he is there to represent, which is the humble examples of Haane Manahi and the soldiers who have gone before him.