Rhys Jones is the first Chief Executive of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, which was established on 1 July 2017 to create a stronger emergency response organisation. As Chief Executive, he is responsible for leading the integration of the country’s urban and rural fire services and assisting in creating a new organisational culture and structure.
Rhys comes from a Defence background, where he rose to Chief of Defence Force over a 35-year career. He has extensive experience as a leader of large and complex agencies across the state sector, coupled with a deep understanding of both career and volunteer forces, operational decision-making and people management. He is a strong advocate of equity and diversity, and passionate about understanding how different groups can work together effectively.
He was awarded the Military order of Saint George by the King of Tonga in 2011, the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014 and the Commander of the Legion of Honour by the French Government in 2017. In October 2018 he was appointed to the Board of the Australian and New Zealand National Council for Fire and Emergency Services (AFAC).
Rhys Jones is a Member of the Champions of Change Fire & Emergency Group which was established in 2017 in partnership with the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC). The group includes Chief Executives and Commissioners leading more than 30 agencies responsible for fire, emergency and land management services across Australia and New Zealand. The group is committed to advancing gender equity, inclusive cultures and achieving significant and sustainable improvements in the representation of women in their workplaces.