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Business and education leader John Hood was last night recognised by the expat association Kea and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise for his contribution to New Zealand's success on the world stage.

Hood, vice-chancellor of Oxford University, was named by Prime Minister Helen Clark as the World Class New Zealand supreme award winner 2007, at a gala dinner in Auckland.

Hood received a tall poppy statuette designed by Oscar-winning Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor to honour his contribution to profiling New Zealand and New Zealanders internationally. Chairman of Kea New Zealand, Stephen Tindall, said Hood embodied all that was truly world class and continued to make an immense contribution to the country's success on the world stage.

"His positive influence has touched virtually every industry sector: education, sport, business and academia. We are all the richer as a country, for having Dr John Hood as a New Zealander," said Tindall.

Hood is the first person in 900 years to be elected vice-chancellor of Oxford University from outside the university's academic body. Prior to this appointment, in 2004, Hood spent 5 years as vice-chancellor of Auckland University. He also spent 18 years working in senior positions with Fletcher Challenge and served as a director of ASB Bank, Fonterra and as chairman of Tonkin & Taylor.

Former managing director of Tonkin & Taylor Terry Kayes said Hood was a person with high aspirations and vision. "He's very passionate about New Zealand. Although he's now obviously in Oxford, he's very much a New Zealander," said Kayes.

Also receiving awards were category award winners:

* John Bedbrook, vice-president research and development, DuPont Agriculture and Nutrition (biotechnology).

* Paul Callaghan, director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (research, science, technology and academia).

* Ralph Norris, CEO, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (finance, investment and business services).

* Brian Peace, Founder Peace Software (information and communications technology).

* Kevin Roberts, CEO, Saatchi and Saatchi Global (creative industries).

* Geoff Ross, CEO, 42 Below (manufacturing).

John Hood

* Vice-chancellor of Oxford University.
* Attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar in the 1970s.
* Bachelor of engineering and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Auckland.
* Former vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland.
* 55 years old.
* Spent 18 years at Fletcher Challenge.