The Westlaker profiles offer a glance into the school’s history and encourage current students to follow their dream and become the best they can be in their chosen field. Blake Medallist, World Contribution Supreme Award winner and Westlaker, Sir John Hood is a remarkable example of having done just that. He realised what no outsider in the nine hundred year history of the University of Oxford had ever achieved before; he was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2004.
John Hood, patron of Westlake Boys’ Hood House, was a Westlake student from 1965-1969 and an outstanding pupil in many respects. He won the Rowan P. Kelly Memorial Prize (English) in 1968 and 1969 and was a solid 1st XI Hockey contributor as well as a knowledgeable 1st XI Cricket Captain, setting a fine example with his batting and fielding. John, a right-hand opening batsman gained selection in the Auckland Secondary Schools Cricket in 1969 where he top scored in the match against Waikato, earning him a trial spot for the Brabin Cup Team. John was a conscientious Deputy Head Prefect and became Dux in his last year at school. He gained a Junior Scholarship in the Scholarships exam and attended Auckland University where he took a BE and a PhD in Civil Engineering. John went on to become a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and also gained a Master of Philosophy in Management Studies from Oxford.
For almost two decades John worked in senior positions for Fletcher Challenge Ltd, where he steered the Paper, the Building and the Construction divisions. He was a Director of ASB Bank Limited, ASB Group, Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and Chairman of Tonkin & Taylor Ltd, The Knowledge Wave Trust and the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee. In 2002 was appointed by Helen Clark as a member of the Prime Minister’s Growth and Innovation Advisory Board. He has also served as New Zealand Secretary for The Rhodes Trust and was a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne.
John never lost his passion for sports. He chaired the America’s Cup Task Force and acted as a Governor and Executive Board Member of the New Zealand Sports Foundation. In 1995 New Zealand Cricket engaged him to chair its major operational, strategic and governance review of the sport, resulting in the Hood Report. In 1996 he chaired the Prime Minister’s Think-Tank on High Performance Sport.
Before his appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 2004, John was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland. During the five year term, he was appointed a Business Ambassador by the British government, served on the DTI Advisory Board, as well as serving on a number of university-related bodies.
John is currently President and CEO of The Robertson Foundation based in New York and Chairman of the Rhodes Trust. Only yesterday he was announced as the Chairman of the WPP Compensation Committee effective from 2014. Earlier this year John found time in his busy schedule to attend the 2013 Westlakers Reunion in London and enjoyed catching up with Headmaster David Ferguson and Westlakers from all decades. Westlake Boys High School and Westlakers look forward to welcoming John back to Westlake when he travels to New Zealand next year.
The 2014 Queen’s Birthday honours list revealed a name very familiar to all current and former students of Westlake Boys High School. In being appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM), Westlake Boys’ Hood House patron Sir John Hood became Westlake’s first knight.
Sir John received his knighthood for services to tertiary education – a fitting accolade for a proud and accomplished Westlaker who, amongst many achievements in his professional life, realised what no outsider in the nine hundred year history of the University of Oxford had ever achieved before when he was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2004.
Headmaster David Ferguson and Sir John co-hosted a dinner at Rhodes House in July 2014 and Mr Ferguson took the opportunity to present Westlake’s first knight with a gold school ring to mark this special occasion.
If you hear any news about Westlake Old Boys or former staff, or if you are interested in supporting Westlakers’ events and activities, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected]