John Hood wants to build a society that is proud of its heritage and diversity of its people.

Dr John Hood's appointment in 2004 as vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford was the first time a person had been selected from outside the institution.

During his 1994-2004 tenure as the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland, he gave the university a new sense of direction and left it in a strong position to pursue its goals of excellence and international recognition.

Previously, Dr Hood spent 19 years heading the paper, building and construction divisions of Fletcher Challenge and was a director of ASB Bank, Fonterra and Universitas 21 Global; chairman of Tonkin & Taylor, The Knowledge Wave Trust and the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee. Dr Hood was also a member of the Prime Minister's Growth and Innovation Advisory Board, New Zealand Secretary for The Rhodes Trust and a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne.

During the 1990s, Dr Hood was chairman of the America's Cup Task Force, the Minister's Think-Tank on High Performance Sport and wrote the Hood Report on New Zealand Cricket. He is a Rhodes Scholar, has a PhD in Engineering and also gained a Master of Philosophy in Management Studies from Oxford University.


Dr Hood is currently president and chief executive of The Robertson Foundation, chairman of the Rhodes Trust and was also awarded the Blake Medal for outstanding leadership, in 2009.

Where were you born and educated?

I was born in Napier and educated at Papakura Primary, Helensville Primary, Westlake Boys' High School, the University of Auckland, the University of Oxford and the school of life.

Tell us about someone who has inspired or been a mentor to you?

Jack Smith, doyen of post-war New Zealand constructors and contractors and historian of Fletcher Construction.

What was an important lesson you learned on your way up?


As a leader, what's the secret to getting people to support and share your vision?


Ensuring it is their vision too, as well as accuracy, consistency, openness and availability, communication and integrity of commitment to the vision.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Somewhat eccentric, I should think.

Who is the best boss you've ever had and what made them great?

In New Zealand: Hugh Fletcher, as CEO of Fletcher Holdings and Fletcher Challenge, for his vision, sense of purpose and the possible, his trust, wisdom and intellect, knowledge of and attention to detail, courage, ability to create space and opportunity for colleagues to develop their talents and careers as well as his global outlook and passion for New Zealand. Externally: Sir Robert Wilson, former chairman of BG Group for the same reasons, except the last (he is British).

What did you want to be as a child?



What do you think will be a significant business or societal issue in the next decade?

Education: Equality of access to it and quality of delivery of it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Health allowing, enjoying my family, friends and other interests, while being actively engaged with multiple organisations and communities.

Who would you love to invite over for dinner, living or dead?


Professor Sir John Bell, Professor Ngaire Woods, Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond and Professor Daniel Kahneman.

What is your dream for New Zealand's future?

To be a confident, enterprising and creative nation. A fully democratic and free society that is proud of its heritage, the diversity of its people and their equality of opportunity.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

I continue to support the Black Caps.

What is the best part about being a Blake Medallist and being part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust network?


Its positive influence in our New Zealand communities, enacted through the primary values of Sir Peter's legacy.

Who is a New Zealand leader that you think has the 'Blake Factor' and why?

Sir Peter Jackson. He is proud of New Zealand heritage and loyal to it, brilliant and courageous with what he takes on, truly international in his mindset.