Owen Woodhouse dies, aged 97

10:31, Apr 15 2014

Former Appeal Court judge, Privy Councillor, war hero and architect of ACC Sir Owen Woodhouse has died at the age of 97.

Prime Minister John Key today expressed his condolences to Woodhouse's family.

“Sir Owen Woodhouse was a man whose life exemplified public service and duty to his country,” Key said.

“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.”

Woodhouse was made a Knight Bachelor in 1974, and a Privy Councillor the same year.

He became a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1981.


In two landmark reports, Woodhouse introduced a compensation scheme which became ACC.

Woodhouse recommended an end to differing treatment of the sick, compared with accident victims.

“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," Key said.

Chief Justice Elias said: "Judges in New Zealand are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse. He was an outstanding jurist with a passion for social justice.  He was a reformer and a great New Zealander."

Fairfax Media