Famous New Zealander Film & Theater Personalities

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Find out more about the greatest New Zealander Film & Theater Personalities, including Russell Crowe, Kevin Smith, Lucy Lawless, Peter Jackson and Anna Paquin.
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 1 
Russell Crowe
(Actor Best Known for His Roles in the Films 'Gladiator', 'The Insider' and 'A Beautiful Mind')
Russell Crowe
6
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.

 2 
Taika Waititi
(Filmmaker Best Known for His Films: 'Boy', 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' and 'What We Do in the Shadows')
Taika Waititi
5
Birthdate: August 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raukokore, Waihau Bay, New Zealand

Taika Waititi is an actor, filmmaker, and comedian. One of the most popular New Zealand film personalities of all time, Waititi is renowned for directing films like Thor: Ragnarok and Boy. He has won prestigious awards including a BAFTA Award, an Academy Award, and a Grammy Award. In 2022, Waititi was included in Time magazine's 100 most influential people list.

 3 
Karl Urban
(New Zealand Actor Known for His TV Series ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’)
Karl Urban
5
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.

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 4 
Peter Jackson
(Director, Writer and Producer of the 'Lord of the Rings' Trilogy & the 'Hobbit' Trilogy)
Peter Jackson
4
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

 5 
Anna Paquin
(Canadian-born New Zealand Actress and the Second Youngest Winner in Oscar History)
Anna Paquin
8
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.

 6 
Sam Neill
(Actor, Director and Producer Known for His Role as ‘Dr. Alan Grant’ in ‘Jurassic Park’ Film Series)
Sam Neill
4
Birthdate: September 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omagh, Northern Ireland

Sam Neill is a New Zealand actor, screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park film series. Sam Neill is also known for his work in TV series like The Simpsons and Peaky Blinders. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the New Zealand Film Award.

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 7 
KJ Apa
(Best Known for His Role as 'Archie Andrews' in the TV Series 'Riverdale')
KJ Apa
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1997
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

KJ Apa is a New Zealand actor, musician, and singer. He is known for his portrayal of Archie Andrews in the popular American teen drama TV series Riverdale, which earned him the Breakthrough Performance award at the 2017 Saturn Awards. His performance in the series also earned him nominations at the Teen Choice Awards and MTV Movie & TV Awards.

 8 
Lucy Lawless
(New Zealand Actress Best Known for Her Role as 'Xena' in the Television Series 'Xena: Warrior Princess')
Lucy Lawless
4
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.

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 9 
Jemaine Clement
(New Zealand Comedian)
Jemaine Clement
7
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.

 10 
Thomasin McKenzie
4
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.

 11 
Martin Henderson
4
Birthdate: October 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Auckland

Martin Henderson is a New Zealand actor best known for his portrayal of Dr. Nathan Riggs in the popular American medical drama TV series, Grey's Anatomy. He has also played important roles in popular films like Bride and Prejudice, Everest, and Miracles from Heaven. Over the years, Martin Henderson has received nominations for the AFI Award and FCCA Award.

 12 
Temuera Morrison
(New Zealand Actor Known for His Film 'Once Were Warriors' and His Multiple Roles in 'Star Wars' Franchise)
Temuera Morrison
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

Temuera Morrison is a New Zealand singer and actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Jango Fett and Boba Fett in the famous Star Wars multimedia franchise. Temuera Morrison has also voiced Boba Fett in several video games, such as Star Wars: Empire at War and Star Wars Battlefront. 

 13 
Daniel Gillies
(Known for His Role of ‘Elijah Mikaelson’ in the TV series ‘The Vampire Diaries’)
Daniel Gillies
6
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.

 14 
Antony Starr
(Actor famous for his portrayal of twins Van and Jethro West in the hit New Zealand television series Outrageous Fortune)
Antony Starr
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Antony Starr is a New Zealand actor whose portrayal of Jeremy King in the 2012 Australian mystery drama film Wish You Were Here earned him the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award. Antony Starr is best known for playing Homelander in the American superhero television series, The Boys.

 15 
Rose McIver
(Actress)
Rose McIver
4
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.
 16 
Cliff Curtis
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rotorua

Cliff Curtis is a New Zealand actor whose Māori ethnicity has allowed him to play characters of various ethnicities, including Samoan, Mexican-American, Arab, and Indian. He is best known for his portrayal of Genesis in the critically acclaimed 2014 drama film The Dark Horse, which earned him the Asia Pacific Screen Award under the Best Performance by an Actor category.

 17 
Manu Bennett
(New Zealand Actor Know for His TV Series: 'Spartacus', 'Arrow' and 'The Hobbit' Film Trilogy)
Manu Bennett
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

Manu Bennett is a New Zealand actor best known for playing important roles in epic fantasy works like Spartacus, The Shannara Chronicles, Arrow, and The Hobbit trilogy. Apart from playing Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit trilogy, Manu Bennett also voiced the character in the 2014 video game, Lego The Hobbit.

 18 
Melanie Lynskey
(New Zealand Actress Known for Playing Quirky, Soft-Spoken but Headstrong Characters)
Melanie Lynskey
4
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.

 19 
Rhys Darby
(Actor, Comedian)
Rhys Darby
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New Zealand

Rhys Darby is a New Zealand comedian and actor. He is known for his portrayal of Murray Hewitt in the TV series Flight of the Conchords. As a comedian, Darby is renowned for his physical comedy routines accompanied with sound effects and mime. In 2012, Darby was honored at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival with the Fred (Dagg) Award.

 20 
Jay Ryan
(actor, film actor)
Jay Ryan
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland

Jay Ryan is a New Zealand actor best known for playing important roles in TV series like Neighbours, Go Girls, Top of the Lake, and Mary Kills People. Jay Ryan and the cast of Top of the Lake received the Equity Ensemble Award under the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Miniseries or Telemovie category in 2014.

 21 
Julian Dennison
(Known for His Role as Ricky Baker in the Movie 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople')
Julian Dennison
10
Birthdate: October 26, 2002
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Julian Dennison is a New Zealand actor whose portrayal of Solomon in his debut film Shopping earned him the New Zealand Film Award under the Best Supporting Actor category. He then went on to appear in popular films like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Deadpool 2. Julian Dennison has also appeared in several commercials for companies like Air New Zealand.

 22 
Zoë Bell
(Stuntwoman and Actress)
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.

 23 
Rachel Hunter
(New Zealand Actress and Model)
Rachel Hunter
3
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. 

 24 
Kerry Bishé
(Known for Her Role as ‘Donna Clark’ in the TV Series ‘Halt and Catch Fire’)
Kerry Bishé
3
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.

 25 
Richard Curtis
(Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer, Television producer, Writer)
Richard Curtis
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Richard Curtis is a New Zealand-born British screenwriter, film director, and producer. Widely regarded as one of Britain's most popular and successful comedy screenwriters, Curtis is best known for writing romantic comedy films like Bridget Jones's Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually. Richard Curtis is a recipient of several prestigious awards including the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.

 26 
Lesley-Ann Brandt
(Film actress)
Lesley-Ann Brandt
0
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.

 27 
Bret McKenzie
(Musician, Comedian and Former Actor Best Known as One Half of Musical Comedy Duo ‘Flight of the Conchords’)
Bret McKenzie
3
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. 

 28 
Alan Dale
(Actor)
Alan Dale
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunedin

Alan Dale is a New Zealand actor best known for his portrayal of Jim Robinson in the popular Australian television soap opera, Neighbours. After realizing that he had become stereotyped as Jim Robinson in New Zealand and Australia, Alan Dale moved to the US where he achieved international recognition after appearing in movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 29 
Anna Hutchison
(Actress and Producer)
Anna Hutchison
3
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
 30 
Tim Bevan
(One of the Most Successful British Producers of His Era)
Tim Bevan
2
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
 31 
Jane Campion
(Screenwriter, Film director, Actor)
Jane Campion
2
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.

 32 
Craig Parker
(New Zealand Actor)
Craig Parker
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Suva, Fiji

Craig Parker is a New Zealand actor best known for his appearances in epic films and TV series like the Lord of the Rings film series, Legend of the Seeker, and Spartacus. He has received a couple of New Zealand Film and TV Award nominations for his work in television. Craig Parker is also renowned for his theatre work.

 33 
Sam Wills
(Comedian)
Sam Wills
3
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.

 34 
Marton Csokas
(New Zealand Actor Who Often Portrays Villainous Roles and Has Worked Extensively in Australia and Hollywood)
Marton Csokas
0
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.

 35 
Keisha Castle-Hughes
6
Birthdate: March 24, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Donnybrook, Australia

Australian-born New Zealand actor Keisha Castle-Hughes is best known for her performance as Paikea in Whale Rider, which earned her an Academy Award nomination at age 13, making her the youngest to achieve the feat back then. She also made waves as Obara Sand in Game of Thrones.

 36 
Anna-Louise Plowman
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Napier, New Zealand
 37 
Michael Dorman
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Auckland

Michael Dorman is a New Zealand actor known for playing NASA astronaut Gordo Stevens in the American science fiction drama, For All Mankind. He is also known for his portrayal of John Tavner in Patriot. Apart from acting, Michael Dorman has also tried his hand at playing the guitar and singing.

 38 
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
3
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.  

 39 
Lee Tamahori
(Film director, Actor)
Lee Tamahori
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wellington

Lee Tamahori is a New Zealand filmmaker who achieved international recognition in 2002 when he directed the 20th film in the popular James Bond series, Die Another Day. Lee Tamahori is also known for directing successful and popular movies like Once Were Warriors, Along Came a Spider, and Mahana.

 40 
Clarke Gayford
(Radio Broadcaster)
Clarke Gayford
3
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.

 41 
Danielle Cormack
3
Birthdate: December 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Auckland

Best known for her role of Ephiny in Xena: Warrior Princess, New Zealand actor Danielle Cormack has also made her presence felt in theater, with plays such as Trainspotting, A Streetcar Named Desire, and East. She owns a production company and is also associated with initiatives such as Childfund.

 42 
Friedensreich Hundertwasser
(Austrian Visual Artist and Architect)
Friedensreich Hundertwasser
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: February 19, 2000

Austrian visual artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser is remembered for his imagination, his love for bold colors and uneven forms, and his dislike for “straight lines.” He and his Jewish mother escaped the Nazis by posing as Christians. His architectural projects are focused on environment-friendly buildings, such as the Hundertwasserhaus apartment block.

 43 
Jessica Nigri
(Cosplayer and Model Known for Her Voice as Cinder Fall in Web Series ‘RWBY’)
Jessica Nigri
3
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.

 44 
Frankie Adams
(Actress)
Frankie Adams
3
Birthdate: January 3, 1994
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Savaiʻi, Samoa
 45 
Martin Campbell
(New Zealand Director Known for His Films: ‘The Mask of Zorro’, ‘GoldenEye’ and ‘Casino Royale’)
Martin Campbell
2
Birthdate: October 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hastings, New Zealand

Martin Campbell is a New Zealand film and TV director based in UK. He directed the British miniseries Edge of Darkness, for which he won a BAFTA. Beginning his career directing softcore sex comedies, he eventually graduated to directing popular action films, including two James Bond films. He also directed two Zorro films.

 46 
Rebecca Gibney
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Levin
 47 
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
 48 
Kerry Fox
(Actor)
Kerry Fox
2
Birthdate: July 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington
Pana Hema-Taylor
2
Birthdate: September 14, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland

Pana Hema Taylor is a New Zealand actor of Māori heritage. He is best known for his portrayal of Nasir in TV series Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned. He has also played important roles in other popular TV series like The Brokenwood Mysteries and Westside.

 50 
Bruce Spence
(New Zealand-Australian Actor Known for His Role as the 'Gyrocopter Pilot' in 'Mad Max 2')
Bruce Spence
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Bruce Spence is a New Zealand-Australian actor who has appeared in more than 100 films and television series. He is also renowned for his theatre work and has voiced characters in a couple of video games as well. Bruce Spence is best known for his portrayal of The Gyro Captain in the 1981 Australian post-apocalyptic action film Mad Max 2.