John Darwin (statistician)

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John Haddrick Darwin (17 December 1923 – 29 October 2008) was Government Statistician[1] of New Zealand from 1980 to 1984 and a member of the 1985–1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System which recommended mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation.[2][3] He was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the New Zealand Statistical Association in 2005.[4]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Christchurch, and died in Wellington.[5] He attended Christ's College, Christchurch, where he was dux, and graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Masters of Science degree with first class honours. He worked for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research from 1944 to 1947, when he left to study overseas at the Cambridge University and the University of Manchester; he had double doctorates in English and Mathematics. He rejoined the DSIR on his return to New Zealand, working in the Applied Mathematics Division. He took charge of its mathematical statistics section in 1963.[6]

Career in Department of Statistics[edit]

Darwin joined the Department of Statistics (later to become Statistics New Zealand) as Deputy Government Statistician in 1978. He was appointed Government Statistician and head of the Department of Statistics in 1980. He retired in 1984.


  1. ^ Robert Davies, "Professor John Darwin" Archived 2007-08-16 at the Wayback Machine., NZMS Newsletter, 31 August 1984. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  2. ^ Report of The Royal Commission on the Electoral System 1986 Archived 2007-04-29 at the Wayback Machine., p. xiii, Elections New Zealand website. Retrieved 30 May 2007.
  3. ^ "A Royal Commission chose MMP for New Zealand. Here’s why" Archived 2008-10-14 at the Wayback Machine., p. 15, David Hay, Sophocrat Ltd. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Honorary Life Members" Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine., New Zealand Statistical Association Newsletter 62, September 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
  5. ^ John Haddrick Darwin – Stats man in switch to MMP (obituary), Dominion Post, 6 November 2008, p. B3.
  6. ^ Obituary notice – Dr John Darwin (1923–2008) Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine., Tribute, New Zealand Statistical Association. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
Preceded by
E. A. Harris
Government Statistician, New Zealand
Succeeded by
Steve Kuzmicich