Brigadier Michael Shapland has served in a variety of appointments both in New Zealand and overseas across a 35-year career with the New Zealand Army, notably in South Sudan in 2018.
Brigadier Shapland was the Force Chief of Staff to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and one of the Senior Military Advisers to the Special Representative of the Secretary General.
As the Force Chief of Staff from May 2018 to May 2019, he was at the centre of a multi-national military headquarters and played a key role in the planning and conduct of peacekeeping operations for more than 14,000 military personnel from more than 60 countries - one of the world’s largest peacekeeping operations.
He managed complex and diverse relationships and led a multi-national staff through a force and operational re-design to set the mission for the future and to mitigate potential adverse situations.
He instigated a number of key initiatives within the UNMISS Force to improve operational efficiency of the military component, including implementing a ‘deploy direct to theatre’ system to reduce deployment rotation inefficiencies, enhancing information collection and sharing procedures, and restructuring the military operations branch to improve operational situational awareness and coordination.
He championed the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security by supporting greater roles for women in command, staff and force roles.
Brigadier Shapland’s contributions were recognised by both the Force Commander and Deputy Force Commander of UNMISS as exceeding reasonable expectations and enhancing the reputation of New Zealand and the New Zealand Defence Force internationally.