Don Elder was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. He attended high school at Christ's College and graduated from the University of Canterbury with a degree in engineering. He then gained a Rhodes Scholarship, to go to Oxford University. Later, he moved back to New Zealand and became CEO of Solid Energy.
Elder currently lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. 
- New Zealand Rhodes Scholars (PDF)
- "Don Elder's grandiose Solid Energy plans". Stuff (Fairfax). 22 May 2015.
- "Ex-Solid Energy boss asks media to leave". Stuff (Fairfax). 12 March 2013.