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John Wood in 2014

Lionel John Wood QSO (born 1944), is the current Chancellor of the University of Canterbury,[1] and a former New Zealand diplomat. He was Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs,[2] and served two separate terms as New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States in Washington.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Kaikoura,[1] Wood was educated at the University of Canterbury, graduating with an MA (first class honours) in 1964. He then studied at Balliol College, University of Oxford, earning a BPhil.

Professional careerEdit

Wood joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1969, and served as First Secretary in Tokyo in 1974. He then worked as Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s Foreign Policy adviser, and served as deputy chief of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Bonn.

Wood was Deputy Chief of Mission at New Zealand's Embassy in Washington from 1984 to 1987, and Chargé d'Affaires at the post from 1984 to 1985, at a key time in New Zealand's relationship with the United States, including New Zealand's withdrawal from the ANZUS treaty.

Wood was New Zealand's Ambassador to Iran in 1987,[4] and the first ambassador to Turkey in 1989.[5] He was also high commissioner to Pakistan.[4] In 1991 he became Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, responsible for trade and economic policy, and one of the key officials driving New Zealand's role in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Wood headed New Zealand delegations and negotiations to the WTO Ministerial meetings in Seattle in 1999, and Doha in 2001. He was inducted into the Consumers for World Trade Hall of Fame for his services in the promotion of free trade.

In 1994, Wood became New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States, in Washington. He held this post for four years, before returning to New Zealand again as Deputy Secretary for trade and economic policy. In this post, Wood was instrumental in securing Don McKinnon’s posting as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and Mike Moore’s posting as Director-General of the WTO.

In 2002, Wood was again posted as New Zealand's Ambassador to Washington, replacing former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.[2]

Wood retired from the Foreign Service in 2006 to Christchurch, where he became an adjunct professor of Political Science. Wood also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury in 2004. In the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours, Wood was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for public services.[6] In 2009, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson appointed him the Crown's lead negotiator in talks with Whanganui iwi.[4][7]


  1. ^ a b "UC announces appointment of new Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor". University of Canterbury. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Wood to replace Bolger as ambassador". The New Zealand Herald. 2 May 2001. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  3. ^ du Chateau, Carroll (18 February 2005). "Where we stand in Bush's America". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "John Wood to lead Crown in Wanganui iwi talks". 21 May 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  5. ^ Maike Van Der Heide And Blairensor (27 April 2009). "War vets worthy of an early rise". The Marlborough Express. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2006". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Diplomat to head iwi talks". The New Zealand Herald. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Denis McLean
Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Jim Bolger
Preceded by
Jim Bolger
Succeeded by
Roy Ferguson
Academic offices
Preceded by
Rex Williams
Chancellor of the University of Canterbury