Famous New Zealand Women

Greatness may be the baby of ability, but there is a lot more that ability has to go under to reach for the greatest. First and foremost you need a vision which has to be backed by passion and drive. But no vision alone can help you achieve the greatness – you need to have a lot of courage, resolute mind and an unwavering spirit to make an achievement. Wonder why are we suddenly talking about greatness and achievement? Peek-a-boo into this section of famous New Zealand women and you would surely relate to the above said.

Vote for Your Favourite New Zealand Women

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 1 
Anna Paquin
(Canadian-born New Zealand Actress and the Second Youngest Winner in Oscar History)
Anna Paquin
77
Birthdate: July 24, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Anna Paquin is a New Zealand-Canadian actress. She started her career as a child actress and became the second-youngest winner in the history of the Academy Awards when she won an Oscar at the age of 11 under the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as Flora McGrath in Jane Campion's 1993 period drama film The Piano.

 2 
Lorde
(Known for Her Unconventional Musical Styles and Introspective Songwriting)
Lorde
66
Birthdate: November 7, 1996
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand

Lorde is a New Zealand singer-songwriter best known for contributing to the soundtrack of the popular American sci-fi adventure film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Her song Yellow Flicker Beat was released as the lead single from the film's successful soundtrack. In 2013 and 2014, she was featured in Time magazine's most influential teenagers list.

 3 
Roseanne Park
(Korean-New Zealand Singer and Dancer Known for Her Single ‘On the Ground’)
Roseanne Park
123
Birthdate: February 11, 1997
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Roseanne Park , better known as Rosé, gained fame as part of the South Korean girl group Blackpink. She was featured on G-Dragon's hit track Without You. She has also endorsed Kiss Me and Yves Saint Laurent. As of 2021, she was the most-followed Korean personality on Instagram
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 4 
Lucy Lawless
(New Zealand Actress Best Known for Her Role as 'Xena' in the Television Series 'Xena: Warrior Princess')
Lucy Lawless
44
Birthdate: March 29, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand

Lucy Lawless is a New Zealand singer and actress best known for her portrayal of Xena in the popular TV series Xena: Warrior Princess. She is also known for playing Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which earned her the 2010 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television. Lucy Lawless is also involved in charity work.

 5 
Jacinda Ardern
(40th Prime Minister of New Zealand)
Jacinda Ardern
63
Birthdate: July 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hamilton, New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand. In October 2017, at the age of 37, she became the world's youngest female head of government. Ardern was praised for the way she led her country after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 and handled the COVID 19 pandemic. She led her party to victory in 2020 general elections.

 6 
Thomasin McKenzie
(Actress)
Thomasin McKenzie
49
Birthdate: July 26, 2000
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Thomasin McKenzie is a New Zealand actress best known for playing Tom in the 2018 American film, Leave No Trace. Her performance earned her the National Board of Review Award under the Breakthrough Performance category. Thomasin McKenzie was also honored by the Seattle Film Critics Society with the Best Youth Performance award in 2019 for her performance in Jojo Rabbit.

 7 
Rose McIver
(Actress)
Rose McIver
23
Birthdate: October 10, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Rose McIver, sister of actor Paul McIver, is best known as Summer Landsdown from Power Rangers RPM and as Liv Moore from iZombie. Fans also loved her in the Hercules TV movies, in films such as Blinder, and as Amber Moore in the A Christmas Prince franchise.
 8 
Stella Maxwell
(Fashion Model and Former Victoria's Secret Angel)
Stella Maxwell
34
Birthdate: May 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Model Stella Maxwell was declared a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2015. Named to Maxim's Hot 100, she has also campaigned for Max Factor cosmetics, H&M, and Puma, and has graced the covers of major fashion magazines. An LGBT icon, she has publicly dated Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart.
 9 
Katherine Mansfield
(One of the Most Highly Regarded Short Story Writers of the 20th Century)
Katherine Mansfield
8
Birthdate: October 14, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wellington
Died: January 9, 1923

Katherine Mansfield was a New Zealand modernist writer best remembered for her short stories. Her life and career inspired several films, plays, novels, and TV series. In 1973, she became the subject of a BBC miniseries titled A Picture of Katherine Mansfield. In 2011, actress Kate Elliott played Mansfield in a TV biopic titled Bliss.

 10 
Lydia Ko
(World's youngest LPGA tour winner who took the Women's Open at Ienbee Park, Canada, at 15 years of age)
Lydia Ko
8
Birthdate: April 24, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 11 
Shirley Setia
(Singer, Actress)
Shirley Setia
8
Birthdate: July 2, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Daman, India
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 12 
Benee
(Singer-songwriter)
Benee
24
Birthdate: January 30, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand

Benee is a New Zealand singer-songwriter who achieved international recognition after the release of her 2019 single Supalonely, which went viral on TikTok. In 2019 and 2020, she won almost all the major awards at the New Zealand Music Awards, becoming a national celebrity at the age of 20.

 13 
Valerie Adams
(Retired New Zealand Shot Putter and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medallist)
Valerie Adams
17
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand
Star shot-putter of New Zealand Valerie Adams boasts of two Olympic golds and four World Championship titles. IAAF’s 2014 World Athlete of the Year, she was one of 18 children born to an English father and a Tongan mother and first gained attention after breaking a 20-year school shot-put record.
 14 
Kerry Bishé
(Known for Her Role as ‘Donna Clark’ in the TV Series ‘Halt and Catch Fire’)
Kerry Bishé
6
Birthdate: May 1, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Zealand

Kerry Bishé is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Donna Clark in the period drama TV series, Halt and Catch Fire. After being born in New Zealand, Kerry Bishé moved to the United States, where she established herself in the entertainment industry, appearing in films like Argo, for which she received the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award.

 15 
Nancy Wake
(British Agent who Led the Maquis Groups of the French Resistance - One of the Most Decorated Servicewomen During WW II)
Nancy Wake
17
Birthdate: August 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand
Died: August 7, 2011

Initially a journalist, Nancy Wake earned the nickname The White Mouse for her skilful spying on Germans. Working under the alias Helene for the SOE, the stiletto-wearing socialite earned respect for her 500 km bicycle ride to report a situation to London, while being chased by the Nazis.

 16 
Zoë Bell
(Stuntwoman and Actress)
Zoë Bell
10
Birthdate: November 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Zoë Bell is a New Zealand actress and stuntwoman. She is best known for her stunt work in films like Kill Bill and Xena: Warrior Princess where she doubled for Uma Thurman and Lucy Lawless respectively. Zoë Bell is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as World Stunt Awards and Women in Film and Television New Zealand Award.

 17 
Melanie Lynskey
(New Zealand Actress Known for Playing Quirky, Soft-Spoken but Headstrong Characters)
Melanie Lynskey
21
Birthdate: May 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Plymouth, New Zealand

Melanie Lynskey is a New Zealand actress best known for her portrayal of Rose in the popular American sitcom Two and a Half Men. Over the years, she has won several prestigious awards such as a Critics' Choice Award, Hollywood Film Award, and Gracie Award.

 18 
Luciane Buchanan
(Actress)
Luciane Buchanan
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Zealand
 19 
Anna Hutchison
(Actress and Producer)
Anna Hutchison
10
Birthdate: February 8, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Best known for the New Zealand soap Shortland Street and the Australian series Underbelly, Anna Hutchison has also appeared in films such as Encounter. She was in the news for traveling with her 11-month-old daughter from Los Angeles to Auckland amid the COVID-19 pandemic to film A Love Yarn
 20 
Kiri Te Kanawa
(Opera singer)
Kiri Te Kanawa
10
Birthdate: March 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gisborne, New Zealand
 21 
Rachel Hunter
(New Zealand Actress and Model)
Rachel Hunter
22
Birthdate: September 8, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand model and actress, Rachel Hunter, is best known as the host of the TV show Rachel Hunter's Tour of Beauty. Pretty and confident as a young girl, she began modeling as a teenager. She has worked with Cover Girl cosmetics and has been featured on several magazine covers, including Vogue, Elle, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. 

 22 
Rebecca Gibney
(Actor)
Rebecca Gibney
6
Birthdate: December 14, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Levin
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 23 
Anna-Louise Plowman
(Actress)
Anna-Louise Plowman
10
Birthdate: May 9, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Napier, New Zealand
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 24 
Dakota Kai
(New Zealand Professional Wrestler)
Dakota Kai
17
Birthdate: May 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

A popular wrester from New Zealand, Cheree Georgina Crowley, better known as Dakota Kai, has won the NXT Womens Tag Team Championship twice. Before joining WWE, she had wrestled in countries such as Japan, Australia, and the US, under the ring name Evie. She is also a popular streamer on Twitch.

 25 
Jessica Watson
(Australian Sailor Who Attempted a Solo Global Circumnavigation at the Age of 16)
Jessica Watson
9
Birthdate: May 18, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gold Coast, Australia

Order of Australia Medal-winning Jessica Watson made headlines with her solo attempt of circumnavigating the world, though it fell short of the official criteria. The Australian sailor and explorer had grown up in a cabin cruiser and double-decker bus. She has recounted her experience in a documentary and a book.

 26 
Helen Clark
(37th Prime Minister of New Zealand)
Helen Clark
6
Birthdate: February 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Te Pahu, New Zealand

Helen Clark is a New Zealand politician who served as the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008. She was only the second woman to hold the prime minister's office in New Zealand. An important politician, Helen Clark also served as the Minister of Health from 1989 to 1990 and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2008.   

 27 
Hayley Westenra
(New Zealand Classical Crossover Singer Best Known as Member of Irish Folk Group 'Celtic Woman')
Hayley Westenra
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

Hayley Westenra is a New Zealand singer and songwriter best known for her album Pure which became one of New Zealand's fastest selling albums of all time. The album, which sold over two million copies worldwide, peaked at number one on the UK classical charts. Hayley Westenra is also a well-known philanthropist; she contributes to charities around the world.

 28 
Frankie Adams
(Actress)
Frankie Adams
9
Birthdate: January 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Savaiʻi, Samoa
Height: 5'11" (180 cm)
 29 
Michelle Ang
(Actress known for her work on Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462)
Michelle Ang
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 30 
Jean Batten
(Aviator Who Made Record Breaking Trans-world Flights)
Jean Batten
2
Birthdate: September 15, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand
Died: November 22, 1982

Born to a dentist father in New Zealand, Jean Batten was initially sent to England to study music. However, she earned a pilot’s license instead and made many aviation records, which included completing the first solo flight from England to New Zealand. In her final years, she became a recluse.

 31 
Brooke Fraser
(New Zealand Rock Singer and Songwriter Best Known for Her Hit Single 'Something in the Water')
Brooke Fraser
4
Birthdate: December 15, 1983
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Brooke Fraser is a New Zealand singer-songwriter best known for her 2010 single, Something in the Water. Over the course of her career, Fraser has won several awards, including a Grammy for her song What a Beautiful Name. She has also won many New Zealand Music Awards. Also a philanthropist, Fraser was part of the 2012 charity song, Feel Inside.

 32 
Emma Lahana
(Actor, Film actor)
Emma Lahana
5
Birthdate: June 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
 33 
Patsy Reddy
(21st Governor-General of New Zealand)
Patsy Reddy
2
Birthdate: May 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Matamata, New Zealand
A qualified lawyer, Patsy Reddy has also been the governor-general of New Zealand. A patron of the arts, she has chaired the Film Commission and been the Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency, too. She being a vegan, her swearing-in ceremony for the post of governor-general was completely vegan.
 34 
Brooke Williams
(Actress)
Brooke Williams
5
Birthdate: January 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 35 
Kate Sheppard
(The Most Prominent Member of the Women's Suffrage Movement in New Zealand)
Kate Sheppard
13
Birthdate: March 10, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: July 13, 1934

Born in England and educated in Scotland, Kate Sheppard later moved with her family to New Zealand. A fiery feminist, she led the WCTU women’s suffrage campaign, making New Zealand the first country that granted its women the right to vote. She also encouraged women to participate in physical activities.

 36 
Janet Frame
(Novelist, Essayist, Poet, Writer, Short Story Writer)
Janet Frame
1
Birthdate: August 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dunedin
Died: January 29, 2004

Initially trained to be a schoolteacher, Janet Frame later soared to fame with her short stories, poems, and her 3-part memoir, including An Angel at My Table. Misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, she spent almost a decade in mental hospitals. She wrote most of her works while in psychiatric care.

 37 
Ngaio Marsh
(New Zealand Mystery Writer and Theatre Director)
Ngaio Marsh
3
Birthdate: April 23, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Died: February 18, 1982

Ngaio Marsh was a New Zealand theatre director and crime writer. Counted among the Queens of Crime alongside other crime writers like Agatha Christie, Marsh is best remembered for her famous character, Roderick Alleyn. She received several prestigious awards and was made an inductee of the Detection Club in 1974. The Ngaio Marsh Award is presented annually in her memory.

 38 
Jessica Lee Rose
(Actress who starred in the Youtube series Lonelygirl15 from 2006 to 2008 and appeared in the series Sorority Forever)
Jessica Lee Rose
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salisbury, Maryland, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 39 
Alexia Barlier
(Actress)
Alexia Barlier
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 40 
Amelia Kerr
(New Zealand Cricket All-rounder)
Amelia Kerr
0
Birthdate: October 13, 2000
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand
 41 
Ladyhawke
(New Zealand Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist)
Ladyhawke
4
Birthdate: July 13, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Masterton, New Zealand

Ladyhawke is a New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. She is best known for her self-titled debut studio album, which earned her a couple of New Zealand Music Awards and an ARIA Music Award. Ladyhawke is also well-known for her successful collaborations with other popular artistes like Pnau and Broods.

 42 
Emily Barclay
(New Zealand AFI award winning actress)
Emily Barclay
5
Birthdate: October 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 43 
Monica Galetti
(Chef)
Monica Galetti
5
Birthdate: August 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Samoa
 44 
Bic Runga
(New Zealand Pop Singer Known for Her Hit Single ‘Sway')
Bic Runga
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

Bic Runga is a New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. An exponent of pop music, Runga is best known for her song Sway, which achieved immense popularity in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland. The recipient of many New Zealand Music Awards, Bic Runga was made an inductee of the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

 45 
Robyn Malcolm
(Actress)
Robyn Malcolm
1
Birthdate: March 15, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ashburton, New Zealand
 46 
Wing
(Singer whose singing style has drawn comparisons to Florence Foster Jenkins and Mrs. Miller)
Wing
2
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Hong Kong
 47 
Lesley-Ann Brandt
(Film actress)
Lesley-Ann Brandt
8
Birthdate: December 2, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

South African-born New Zealand actor Lesley-Ann Brandt was first noticed for her performance as Naevia in the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. She later soared to fame as the Vertigo/DC Comics character Mazikeen in the hit Netflix series Lucifer. She has also appeared in a couple of music videos.

 48 
Rose Matafeo
(Writer and performer on the NZ late-night comedy sketch show Funny Girls)
Rose Matafeo
5
Birthdate: February 25, 1992
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 49 
Dianna Fuemana
(New Zealand Pacific Writer, Director and Performer)
Dianna Fuemana
3
Birthdate: 1973 AD
Birthplace: New Zealand

New Zealand actor Dianna Fuemana was 16 when she quit school and got married. She later got divorced before she began dating Australian actor Jay Ryan. The mother of three is known for plays such as Frangipani Perfume and Mapaki and has written and directed a few short films, too.

 50 
Jenny Shipley
(36th Prime Minister of New Zealand (1997 - 1999))
Jenny Shipley
1
Birthdate: February 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gore, New Zealand

Jenny Shipley is a New Zealand retired politician who became the first female Prime Minister of the country in 1997. She served as the Prime Minister until 1999 and then served as the Leader of the Opposition from 1999 to 2001. An influential politician, Jenny Shipley also served as the Minister of Health from 1993 to 1996.

While talking about famous New Zealand women, one cannot restrain from mentioning Kate Sheppard at the top – she was the face of the equality campaign. Thanks to her futuristic vision which was powered by her political skill, Kate successfully guided New Zealand to become the first country in the world that gave women the right to vote. In the field of literature too, New Zealand women made their worth count. Katherine Mansfield, an author and short story writer, was amongst the literary giants of the 20th century. And who can forget the pioneering aviator Jean Batten and her flying endeavour which made her the first person to fly solo from London to Auckland? Get inspired by the life history and works of famous New Zealand women and their achievements in this segment.