The Herald reports that Sir Wilson Whineray, a former All Black captain, is hot favourite to be the next Governor General. Apparently the key requirements for the job are to be male and not to be a judge.
Why do we need a G-G anyway? They seem to have two main jobs:
Make personal appearances
Assuming the event doesn't require the PM to attend, there are a whole bunch of people that can do this - cabinet ministers, ambassadors, sporting and cultural identities. There doesn't seem to be a need for a specific job of attending parties that the PM doesn't want to go to.
Umpire disputed election situations
The only time an Australasian G-G has needed to intervene in politics (the Whitlam dismissal) they didn't exercise their powers in a particularly impartial or judicious manner. Not having a Senate, NZ is unlikely to experience the same situation - however it is quite possible that a future election could lead to an impasse. I'm not sure why a former rugby player would be expected to be up to resolving this - we should have a clear procedure and a Constitutional Court.
As a republican, I realise that many people have an emotional attachment to the Queen - but why not keep Brenda for a few more years and just dispense with the G-G?