Commander Graeme Briggs was born and educated in Dunedin and joined the Otago Division of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMNZS TOROA as a Seaman rating in 1965. He transferred to the electrical branch in 1967 and as a Petty Officer Electrician completed an overseas tour of duty in the Far East. He was promoted to Chief Petty Officer Electrician in 1974 and in 1976 he was commissioned from the ranks as a Sub Lieutenant as an Electrical Officer, he transferred to the Seaman Branch in 1977.
As a junior officer, he saw service at sea in frigates of the Royal New Zealand Navy and Seaward Defence Motor Launches attached to HMNZS TOROA. In November 1977 he was promoted to the acting rank of Lieutenant and became a substantive Lieutenant in July 1979.
Commander Briggs was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD) in 1982 and he was awarded the clasp to the VRD in 1992.
In May 1985 he was promoted to the temporary rank of Lieutenant Commander and appointed Executive Officer, HMNZS TOROA. He became a substantive Lieutenant Commander in July 1987.
Commander Briggs was appointed an Honorary Naval Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the Governor-General in November 1987 and held the appointment until 1997.
In June 1988 Commander Briggs attended a Royal Australian Naval Reserve Staff Course at HMAS Penguin. Over the period June-August 1989 he was a posted to HMNZS MONOWAI as a bridge watch keeper.
In January 1990 he was promoted to the rank of Commander and appointed Commanding Officer, HMNZS TOROA, an appointment he retained until relocating to Wellington in 1997.
During his Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve service Commander Briggs undertook various periods of training with the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve. In November 1983 he was awarded a Minor War Vessel Command Certificate and was on numerous occasions posted to the Inshore Patrol Craft, HMNZS MOA as the Officer in Command. Commander Briggs was a member of the project team who developed the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve Staff Course and was on several occasions appointed as a Syndicate Director.
Commander Briggs was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the 1997 New Year Honours, in recognition of his contribution to the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve.
In November 1998 Commander Briggs entered the Royal New Zealand Navy in the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was appointed Director of Naval Operations on the staff of the Chief of Naval Staff. As a result of a restructure, Lieutenant Commander Briggs’ appointment was re-designated Deputy Director Naval Operations. In March 1999 he assumed an additional role as the Wellington Naval Liaison Officer.
In February 2001 Lieutenant Commander Briggs was appointed Assistant Director of Joint Operations on the staff of the Chief of Defence Force. In July 2001 when the Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand was established, the appointment was re-designated Assistant Director Strategic Plans and is now Assistant Director Strategic Commitments. Between August 2002 and April 2003 whilst the incumbent served on an operational tour of duty, Lieutenant Commander Briggs also carried out the duties of Assistant Director of Strategic Plans Peacekeeping in addition to his normal duties.
In March 2007 he was appointed Assistant Director Mutual Assistance Programme Coordination and held the appointment until being posted to the appointment of Assistant Director Defence Attaché Coordination in Nov 2010. He was placed on the Retired List as a Commander on 14 Oct 2011, ending a career of continuous service in uniform of 45 years and 10 months.
Commander Briggs is married to Anne; they have three adult children, two daughters and a son and four grandchildren