Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Fellowship/Lecture

The Woodhouse fellowship and associated lecture commemorates the life of distinguished judge Sir Owen Woodhouse.

Born in Napier in 1916, Sir Owen completed an LLB at the University of Auckland in 1940. He was appointed a Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court in 1961, and then the New Zealand Court of Appeal in 1974.

Sir Owen's compassion, generosity of spirit and social conscience were reflected in his work as President of the Court of Appeal, President of the Law Commission, and Chairman of the Royal Commission on Compensation for Injury that recommended a no-fault accident compensation scheme and laid the foundations for ACC. He made an immense contribution to New Zealand’s law and society.

In 2023 a new agreement was signed with the Woodhouse family who generously support this lecture. The new agreement focuses on us delivering a Fellowship every four years and ensures public lectures take place bi-annually.

Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture 2023

Professor Richard Gaskins

The highly anticipated Sir Owen Woodhouse Memorial Lecture was presented in 2023 by the Woodhouse Fellow, Richard Gaskins, Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University in Boston.

Speaking to the radical principles behind the 1967 Woodhouse Report, Professor Gaskins explored how “the apparent heresies of one generation become the orthodoxies of the next,” to suggest a framework that can, and should, be used to address contemporary challenges such as climate change and public health.

Watch Professor Gaskin's "Woodhouse Heresies"

Read related story.

Past Woodhouse lectures have been given by:

  • 2022 - Professor Geoff McLay: "Sir Owen Woodhouse and the making of New Zealand Law" - watch here
  • 2019 - Susan St. John, CNZM, QSO: "Reflections on the Woodhouse Legacy for the 21st Century" - watch here
  • 2018 -  The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer, KCMG, AC, QC:  "A Retrospective on the Woodhouse Report—the vision, the performance and the future"
  • 2017 -  The Rt Hon Sir Kenneth Keith, ONZ, KBE: "Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety—promoting safety through national and international law" - watch here