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.

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

Vote for Your Favourite New Zealand Women

 1 
Anna Paquin
(Actress)

Anna Paquin
39
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
28
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 
Jacinda Ardern
(Prime Minister of New Zealand)

Jacinda Ardern
28
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.

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 4 
Lucy Lawless
(Actress best known for her roles as Xena in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess, as D'Anna Biers on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series)

Lucy Lawless
13
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 

Thomasin McKenzie
25
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.

 6 

Stella Maxwell
18
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.

 7 
Rose McIver
(Actress)

Rose McIver
9
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.
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 8 
Benee
(Singer-songwriter)

Benee
9
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.

 9 
Lesley-Ann Brandt
(Film actress)

Lesley-Ann Brandt
2
Birthdate: December 2, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Katherine Mansfield
4
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.

 11 
Kerry Bishé
(Actress)

Kerry Bishé
2
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.

 12 
Zoë Bell
(Stuntwoman)

Zoë Bell
3
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.

 13 
Rachel Hunter
(Model, Actress)

Rachel Hunter
11
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. 

 14 

Peta Murgatroyd
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 15 

Melanie Lynskey
13
Birthdate: May 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Plymouth, Taranaki, 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.

 16 

Keisha Castle-Hughes
2
Birthdate: March 24, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Donnybrook, Australia

 17 

Anna Hutchison
2
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

 18 
Dakota Kai
(Wrestler)

Dakota Kai
5
Birthdate: May 6, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 19 
Valerie Adams
(Shot Putter)

Valerie Adams
5
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.

 20 

Anna-Louise Plowman
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Napier, New Zealand

 21 
Kiri Te Kanawa
(Opera singer)

Kiri Te Kanawa
1
Birthdate: March 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gisborne, New Zealand

 22 
Rose Matafeo
(Writer and performer on the NZ late-night comedy sketch show Funny Girls)

Rose Matafeo
0
Birthdate: February 25, 1992
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 23 
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
1
Birthdate: April 24, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

 24 

Monica Galetti
0
Birthdate: August 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Samoa

 25 
Pamela Stephenson
(Actress best known for her work during the 1980s, particularly in Not the Nine O'Clock News; History of the World, Part I; and Superman III)

Pamela Stephenson
2
Birthdate: December 4, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Pamela Stephenson is a New Zealand-born writer, psychologist, and performer. Stephenson is best known as a comedienne who achieved immense popularity during the 1980s when she appeared in comedy films and shows like History of the World, Part I and Not the Nine O'Clock News. As a writer, Pamela Stephenson has been contributing to publications like Psychologies and The Guardian.  

 26 
Charlotte Dawson
(Television personality)

Charlotte Dawson
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Died: February 22, 2014

Charlotte Dawson was a New Zealand–Australian TV personality best remembered for her work as the host of popular TV shows, such as Getaway and The Contender Australia. A former model and fashion advocate, Dawson also appeared as a judge on the reality television series, Australia's Next Top Model. Her death by suicide in 2014 made headlines in Australia.

 27 

Rebecca Gibney
1
Birthdate: December 14, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Levin

 28 
Jessica Nigri
(Cosplayer, Model)

Jessica Nigri
13
Birthdate: August 5, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reno, Nevada, United States

Hailed as the Queen of Cosplay, Jessica Nigri is known for adding a tinge of sex appeal to otherwise normal characters. She has even dressed up as armored Disney characters. Famous for her cosplays such as Sexy Pikachu, Nigri is also known for her oversized breasts and her jovial personality.

 29 
Frankie Adams
(Actress)

Frankie Adams
4
Birthdate: January 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Savaiʻi, Samoa

 30 
Caren Pistorius
(Actress known for her role as Rose in the 2015 film Slow West)

Caren Pistorius
0
Birthdate: September 30, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rustenburg, South Africa

 31 
Parris Goebel
(Choreographer)

Parris Goebel
0
Birthdate: October 29, 1991
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manurewa, New Zealand

Parris Goebel is a New Zealand dancer, choreographer, singer, actress, and director. She is credited with founding a dance school named The Palace Dance Studio where she serves as the main choreographer. Parris Goebel's dance school has produced groups like The Royal Family, which has won the prestigious World Hip Hop Dance Championship thrice in a row.

 32 

Lisa Harrow
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland

 33 
Brooke Fraser
(Singer and songwriter best known for her hit single)

Brooke Fraser
2
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.

 34 
Emma Lahana
(Actor, Film actor)

Emma Lahana
0
Birthdate: June 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland

 35 
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.

 36 
Kerry Fox
(Actor)

Kerry Fox
1
Birthdate: July 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington

 37 

Brooke Williams
1
Birthdate: January 3, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

 38 
Patsy Reddy
(21st Governor-General of New Zealand)

Patsy Reddy
0
Birthdate: May 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Matamata, New Zealand

 39 
Niki Caro
(Director known for 2002 film Whale Rider was critically praised and won a number of awards)

Niki Caro
0
Birthdate: September 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Niki Caro is a screenwriter and film director. She achieved international prominence in 2002 when she directed the critically acclaimed drama film Whale Rider, which won several honors at international film festivals. In 2020, she directed Mulan, becoming the second director from New Zealand to be hired by Disney to direct a movie with a minimum budget of $100 million.

 40 

Christine Leunens
0
Birthdate: December 29, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States

 41 
Kate Sheppard
(Women's Suffrage Leader)

Kate Sheppard
5
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.

 42 

Jessica Watson
0
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.

 43 
Ngaio Marsh
(Writer, Theatre director, Novelist, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Film actor)

Ngaio Marsh
0
Birthdate: April 23, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Christchurch
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.

 44 
Jane Campion
(Screenwriter, Film director, Actor)

Jane Campion
6
Birthdate: April 30, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

In 1993, Jane Campion became the first female filmmaker to be honored with the Palme d'Or for her film The Piano, which also earned her an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. In 2022, Campion became the first woman to win Oscars for both screenwriting and directing when her film The Power of the Dog earned her the Best Director award.

 45 

Alexia Barlier
0
Birthdate: December 21, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

 46 
Sara Wiseman
(Putita, Film actor)

Sara Wiseman
0
Birthdate: May 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Auckland

 47 
Emily Barclay
(New Zealand AFI award winning actress)

Emily Barclay
0
Birthdate: October 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Plymouth, Devon, England

 48 
Wing
(Singer whose singing style has drawn comparisons to Florence Foster Jenkins and Mrs. Miller)

Wing
0
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Hong Kong

 49 
Rena Owen
(Actor, Nurse)

Rena Owen
1
Birthdate: July 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bay of Islands

 50 

Sally Martin
0
Birthdate: May 14, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wellington

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.