Reid completed his education at Lynfield College, well known for its cricket. Reid house at Lynfield College is named after him. He worked as a high school geography teacher while playing cricket.
Reid played in 19 Test matches and 25 One Day Internationals between 1979 and 1986. His Test average was 46.28 and included six Test centuries. His ODI average was 27.52. Despite having a very respectable batting average of 46.28, it was revealed by Cricinfo that Reid had the biggest difference in batting averages between first and second innings. He had a first innings average of 68.41, but a second innings average of only 12.09, a difference of more than 56 runs.
John Reid played an important part in New Zealand’s first test win over Australia in Australia in 1985. He scored 108 runs and combined with Martin Crowe for a third wicket stand of 284. Richard Hadlee said of Reid “His contribution was quite significant … those two put the game firmly in our control and gave us a significant lead that allowed us to win that first ever test in Australia”.
John Wright described him as “a person he was a good team man. He was a quiet achiever. He was always constant. Dependable. Reliable. Astute”