Don Hunn

Don Hunn
Chairman of the State Services Commission
In office
Prime Minister David Lange
Preceded by Roderick Deane
Chief Commissioner of the State Services Commission
In office
Prime Minister David Lange
State Services Commissioner
In office
Prime Minister David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger
Succeeded by Michael Wintringham
High Commissioner
In office
Preceded by Paul Cotton
Succeeded by Rod Gates
Personal details
Born (1934-12-26) 26 December 1934

Donald Kent (Don) Hunn CNZM (born Wellington 26 December 1934) is a senior New Zealand diplomat and civil servant. Hunn is the son of Sir Jack Hunn, a former Secretary of Defence, Maori Affairs, and Justice.


Hunn attended Wellington College and Victoria University of Wellington, where he earned a Master of Arts in History. He worked initially at the Public Trust.

Diplomatic career

Hunn joined the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1957. During the 1960s and 1970s, he had diplomatic postings in Washington, D.C., Suva, Kuala Lumpur and Brussels, and opened New Zealand's embassy in Chile. In 1976, Hunn became New Zealand's first resident High Commissioner to the Kingdom of Tonga. In 1980, Hunn was appointed Deputy High Commissioner to Canberra.

State Services Commissioner

Hunn returned to New Zealand in 1982 as a State Services Commissioner. At the time, the State Services Commission comprised the Chairman, and three commissioners. In 1986, Hunn succeeded Roderick Deane as chief commissioner, and head of New Zealand's public service. In 1989, after a change in the legislation (specifically the State Sector Act 1988), Hunn became the sole commissioner.

During his time as SSC, Hunn was responsible for a major reorginatisation of the public service with the introduction of the State Sector Act 1988. This involved transforming the State Services Commission into the organisation responsible for selecting, employing, and managing the performance of government departmental chief executives, and providing oversight for the performance of the state sector as a whole.

Hunn retired from the public service in 1997.


In his retirement, Hunn was appointed Chairman of New Zealand on Air. He also conducted a range of consulting assignments for foreign governments,as well as the New Zealand government, around state sector reform.

Hunn has been appointed to chair numerous New Zealand government reviews and inquiries, including the 1999 review of the activities of the Department of Work and Income, a review of "leaky building syndrome", the review of the 1999 General Election, the review of the organisation of Defence Services in New Zealand, among many others.

Hunn is presently a Fellow of the Victoria University School of Government, and a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration. He sits on the board of New Zealand Ballet.

In August 2007, State Services Commissioner Mark Prebble appointed Hunn to investigate the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Madeleine Setchell from the Ministry for the Environment, following allegations that Environment Minister David Benson-Pope used political influence to have her removed from her position.

Preceded by
Roderick Deane
Chairman of the State Services Commission, Chief Commissioner of the State Services Commission, State Services Commissioner
Succeeded by
Michael Wintringham
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