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John McKinnon

Executive Director, Asia New Zealand Foundation 

John McKinnon was educated at Nelson College, Victoria University of Wellington and the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

In May 1974 John McKinnon joined the then Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was posted to China as a second secretary in 1978, after two years Chinese language training in Hong Kong. On returning to New Zealand in 1980, John McKinnon was assigned to the Asian division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He later worked on secondment with Fletcher Challenge for a year.

His subsequent postings in the diplomatic service were to Washington (1985-1986), Canberra (1986-1990) and New York (1992-1995) – the last as Deputy Permanent Representative during New Zealand's term on the United Nations Security Council.

In 1995 John McKinnon moved to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as director of the External Assessments Bureau. 

He was then appointed New Zealand’s Ambassador to China and Mongolia, and was stationed in Beijing from February 2001 to November 2004. He returned to New Zealand as Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, responsible for New Zealand’s relations with Asia and the Americas.            

John McKinnon was Secretary of Defence from December 2006 to November 2012. During his time in the role, the New Zealand Government published the Defence White Paper 2010.

In March 2012 John McKinnon was appointed Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation, taking up the position on 1 December 2012. 



John McKinnon

Executive Director

Asia New Zealand Foundation

PO Box 10144, Wellington 6143, New Zealand

Tel:  +64 4 470 8700


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