John Wood (New Zealand diplomat)


John Wood (New Zealand diplomat)

John Wood QSO (b. 1944), New Zealand diplomat. Wood is a former Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs., and served two separate terms as New Zealand's Ambassador to Washington.

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

Wood joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. in 1969, and served as First Secretary in Tokyo in 1974. Wood then worked as Prime Minister Robert 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 1984-1987, and Chargé d'Affaires at the post from 1984-1985, 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, and became Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 1991. Wood was responsible for trade and economic policy, and one of the key officials driving New Zealand’s role in APEC, and the WTO. Wood headed New Zealand delegations and negotiations to the WTO Ministerial meetings in Seattle in 1999, and Doha in 2001. Wood 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 World Trade Organisation.

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

Wood retired from the Foreign Service in 2006, to Christchurch, where as an adjunct professor of Political Science. Wood also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury in 2004.

Wood is married to his second wife, Rosie.


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