A decorated World War II hero, former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge, Privy Councillor and architect of ACC, has died.

Sir Owen Woodhouse, ONZ KBE DSC, was 97.

Prime Minister John Key said Sir Owen was a man whose life exemplified public service and duty to his country.

"He was a decorated naval officer in World War II, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross for operations in the Adriatic, before embarking on a long and distinguished career as a jurist at the highest level.


"He is best known for chairing the Royal Commission on Accident Compensation, authoring the Woodhouse Report, which recommended a no-fault accident compensation scheme for New Zealand. He leaves a genuinely important legacy,'' Mr Key said.

Sir Owen was made an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand in 2007, after being made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1981.

He was President of the Court of Appeal between 1981 and 1986, and was made a Privy Counsellor and member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1974.