Famous Men From New Zealand

If there is one place down under that boasts of a wide array of attractions — both physical and intellectual, New Zealand it is! So if you are even remotely interested in exploring its reservoir of distinguished denizens, consider yourself lucky for you have landed in the right page. Whether it is historians, comedians, explorers, activists, politicians, pioneers or Nobel Laureates, New Zealanders have every reason to be proud of their finest crop of men who have motivated the world in unthinkable ways. From Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Mount Everest to Richard Pearse, the first man to build and fly a mechanically powered airplane and from Harold Williams, the Guinness record holding linguists who claims to be fluent in 58 languages to Academy Award winning actor Russell Crowe, New Zealand indeed has been home to some enterprising men of exceptional feats. And considering its petite population, this is quite an impressive exploit. Unravel the lives of some such famous New Zealand men in the biographies below that trails their timelines and unearths interesting facts and trivia like no memoir else.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya
47
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

 2 Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe
33
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Active in the film industry for over 35 years, Russell Crowe is an actor, film producer, director, and musician. Gaining international fame with his role in the epic historical film Gladiator in 2000, he is the recipient of several awards, including an Academy Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award.

 3 Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson
10
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: October 31, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pukerua Bay, New Zealand

New Zealand director/producer Peter Jackson is best known for his three-time Academy Award-winning work in The Return of the King, the third part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The third-highest-grossing director ever, he is also the man behind The Hobbit trilogy and the 2005 film King Kong

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 4 Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary
23
Famous As: First person to climb Mt. Everest
Birthdate: July 20, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Died: January 11, 2008
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the top of Mount Everest, as part of the British expedition led by John Hunt. Hillary also reached both the poles. He later served as an ambassador to Nepal and founded the Himalayan Trust to help the people of Nepal.

 5 Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi
29
Famous As: Film director Known for What We Do in the Shadows and Boy
Birthdate: August 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raukokore, Waihau Bay, New Zealand

 6 Karl Urban

Karl Urban
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 7, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Karl Urban is one of the most popular actors from New Zealand. He established himself in the American film industry by playing the role of Éomer in two of the three Lord of the Rings film series. Apart from acting, he plays a key role in supporting The KidsCan Charitable Trust, which provides essentials to over 16,000 disadvantaged children.

 7 Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford
12
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brightwater, New Zealand
Died: October 19, 1937

New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford is remembered as the father of nuclear physics. His discovery of radioactive half-life and of radon, and his differentiation of alpha and beta radiation, won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908. Element 104 was named rutherfordium in his honor.

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 8 KJ Apa

KJ Apa
46
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 16, 1997
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 9 Sam Neill

Sam Neill
12
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omagh, Northern Ireland

 10 Daniel Gillies

Daniel Gillies
14
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 14, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Daniel Gillies is a Canadian-New Zealander actor. Despite being born into a family of medical professionals, Daniel Gillies decided to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Although he initially had to work as a waiter and dishwasher, Gillies chose not to give up and eventually established himself as an actor.

 11 Rob Hall

Rob Hall
10
Famous As: Mountaineer
Birthdate: January 14, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Died: May 11, 1996

Rob Hall was a New Zealand mountaineer and the head guide of a Mount Everest expedition in 1996, during which he died along with two clients and a fellow guide. The ill-fated expedition was dramatized in the film Everest where Rob Hall was played by actor Jason Clarke.

 12 Martin Henderson

Martin Henderson
12
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auckland

 13 Temuera Morrison

Temuera Morrison
6
Famous As: Actor who played roles in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Birthdate: December 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 14 Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Clement
10
Famous As: New Zealand Comedian
Birthdate: January 10, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Masterton

Jemaine Clement is a New Zealand actor, director, musician, and comedian. One half of the Grammy Award-winning and popular comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, Clement has created many comedy series for HBO and BBC. Also known for his good looks, Jemaine Clement was named in Who magazine's 100 Sexiest People list in 2008.

 15 Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu
6
Famous As: Rugby Player
Birthdate: May 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Died: November 18, 2015

Jonah Lomu was a New Zealand rugby player whose dominance on the field had a huge impact on the game. Considered the first global superstar of rugby, Jonah Lomu proved to be a crowd-puller. In 2007, he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

 16 Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes
4
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: June 4, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

 17 Steven Adams

Steven Adams
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: July 20, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 18 Joseph Parker

Joseph Parker
2
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 19 Mark Hunt

Mark Hunt
3
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: March 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: South Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand MMA fighter and kickboxer Mark Hunt won the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix and also competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Known as the "King of Walk-Offs" due to his habit of walking away before the referee ends the match, Hunt inspired the documentary The Art of Fighting.

 20 Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams
1
Famous As: Boxer, Rugby Player
Birthdate: August 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Sonny Bill Williams is a New Zealand boxer. Interestingly, he played professional rugby union and rugby league before turning his attention towards boxing. A very successful sportsperson, Williams has won several Rugby World Cups. He also represented New Zealand as a rugby player at the 2016 Olympics.

 21 Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson
3
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: August 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tauranga
New Zealand national cricket team captain Kane Williamson became the only New Zealander on ICC’s Test team of the decade and led his country to the finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. By 2020, he had been named the world’s top Test batsman, with a batting rating of 890. 

 22 Antony Starr

Antony Starr
7
Famous As: Actor famous for his portrayal of twins Van and Jethro West in the hit New Zealand television series Outrageous Fortune
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

 23 Bruce McLaren

Bruce McLaren
3
Famous As: Motorcycle racer, Racecar driver
Birthdate: August 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greater Auckland
Died: June 2, 1970

 24 Manu Bennett

Manu Bennett
3
Famous As: Actor, Model
Birthdate: October 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 25 Jay Ryan

Jay Ryan
3
Famous As: actor, film actor
Birthdate: August 29, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland

 26 Rhys Darby

Rhys Darby
5
Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: March 21, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Zealand

 27 Marton Csokas

Marton Csokas
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Invercargill, New Zealand

New Zealand actor Marton Csokas was born to an Australian mother and a Hungarian father. Known for his roles in series such as Shortland Street and films such as The Equalizer, he chiefly plays the villain. He has his own theater company and has played an award-winning role in the play Uncle Vanya.

 28 Julian Dennison

Julian Dennison
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 26, 2002
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

 29 Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw
1
Famous As: Rugby player
Birthdate: December 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oamaru, New Zealand

 30 Neil Finn

Neil Finn
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Te Awamutu, New Zealand

Crowded House member Neil Finn is all set to perform in a radio series for his lockdown-hit fans on his Mixlr broadcast Fangradio. The New Zealand singer is also associated with Fleetwood Mac and was previously part of Split Enz. He also formed the project Pajama Club with his wife.

 31 Bret McKenzie

Bret McKenzie
2
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: June 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Bret McKenzie is a New Zealand actor, comedian, musician, and producer. Along with Jemaine Clement, he is one-half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. He is a former member of the musical group The Black Seeds. As an actor, he appeared in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. 

 32 Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum
0
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: September 27, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dunedin

 33 Cliff Curtis

Cliff Curtis
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rotorua

 34 Alan Dale

Alan Dale
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunedin

 35 Sam Wills

Sam Wills
1
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: August 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Zealand

Better known as Tape Face, New Zealand-based comedian and mime Sam Wills had begun his career at 13, as an apprentice clown. He boasts of a diploma in New Circus and doesn’t give interviews. He was once accused of fraud for using a stand-in instead of performing at a show.

 36 Aaron Finch

Aaron Finch
1
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: November 17, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Colac, Australia
Australian cricketer Aaron Finch became the first cricketer with 900 rating points in the ICC T20I rankings, in 2018. He holds the record for two highest individual scores in T20I cricket. He has also played for various IPL teams.

 37 Callan Mulvey

Callan Mulvey
2
Famous As: Actor who portrayed Mark Moran in the popular Australian drama Underbelly
Birthdate: February 23, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 38 John Key

John Key
1
Famous As: Prime Minister of New Zealand (2008-16)
Birthdate: August 9, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Born to immigrants in New Zealand, John Key became the third New Zealand prime minister of Jewish descent. Previously a foreign exchange professional, he has worked with Merrill Lynch. He wished to change his country’s flag by removing the Union Jack on it but voters chose against it.

 39 Michael Dorman

Michael Dorman
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auckland

 40 Craig Parker

Craig Parker
1
Famous As: Known for his roles as Haldir in the films The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Birthdate: November 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Suva, Fiji

 41 Clarke Gayford

Clarke Gayford
5
Famous As: Radio Broadcaster
Birthdate: October 24, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gisborne

Clarke Gayford is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He is best known for presenting a fishing documentary show titled Fish of the Day. He achieved national recognition in 2013 when it was revealed that he has been dating prominent New Zealand politician Jacinda Ardern, who is currently serving as the prime minister of New Zealand.

 42 Tim Bevan

Tim Bevan
0
Famous As: Film producer
Birthdate: December 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand-British film producer Tim Bevan co-chairs the production company Working Title Films, which has indirectly won 12 Academy Awards through its various films. He has co-produced the West End musical Billy Elliot and hit films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Atonement, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Frost/Nixon

 43 Martin Guptill

Martin Guptill
1
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: September 30, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auckland

 44 Lee Tamahori

Lee Tamahori
2
Famous As: Film director, Actor
Birthdate: June 17, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wellington

 45 David Tua

David Tua
1
Famous As: Professional boxer
Birthdate: November 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Faleatiu, Samoa

 46 Burt Munro

Burt Munro
4
Famous As: Motorcycle Racer
Birthdate: March 25, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Invercargill, New Zealand
Died: January 6, 1978

New Zealand motorcyclist Burt Munro made three world records, traveling in his Indian motorcycle from New Zealand to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the U.S., and the one made in 1967 still remains unbroken. The 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian, based on his life, featured Anthony Hopkins as Munro.

 47 Dan Carter

Dan Carter
1
Famous As: Rugby player
Birthdate: March 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southbridge, New Zealand

 48 Ajaz Patel

Ajaz Patel
0
Famous As: Cricketer known as slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler
Birthdate: October 21, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

 49 Trent Boult

Trent Boult
1
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: July 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rotorua

 50 Beauden Barrett

Beauden Barrett
1
Famous As: Rugby union player first five-eighth, fullback position
Birthdate: May 27, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Plymouth, New Zealand