Israel Adesanya is a Nigerian-born New Zealand kickboxer, mixed martial artist, and former boxer. Considered one of the best strikers in MMA, Adesanya has won multiple championships and is the current UFC Middleweight Champion. In 2019, Israel Adesanya was named New Zealand Sportsman of the Year at the Halberg Awards.
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.
Steven Adams is a New Zealand basketball player who is currently playing for the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Renowned for his humility and down to earth personality, Steven Adams is much loved and respected in the United States.
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.
Bruce McLaren was a New Zealand engineer, inventor, racing car designer, and driver. He is credited with founding McLaren Automotive in 1963. Formula One's successful team, McLaren, is named after him. McLaren has been inducted into various halls of fame, including the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Richie McCaw is a New Zealand retired rugby union player who captained the national team in 110 test matches. One of the most successful captains of the All Blacks team, McCaw helped New Zealand win two Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015. In 2019, Richie McCaw was made an inductee of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Brendon McCullum is a New Zealand former cricket player who captained the national team in all formats of the game. Renowned for his ability to score runs quickly, McCullum is regarded as one of the most successful captains of the national cricket team. Brendon McCullum is currently associated with the England cricket test team where he is the head coach.
Once considered the world’s best fly-half, New Zealand rugby star Dan Carter is best known for his stint with the Crusaders and the All Blacks. He was part of the Rugby World Cup-winning New Zealand squads of 2011 and 2015. He is also the all-time leading point scorer in international rugby.
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.
Known for his speed and game management, New Zealand rugby player Beauden Barrett is a 2-time World Rugby Player of the Year award winner. He caught the attention of national selectors at age 19, he later has a long stint with the Hurricanes. He is the highest try-scorer of any first-five in history.
Richard Hadlee is a New Zealand retired cricket player who is considered as one of the greatest all-rounders of all time; he is especially renowned for his ability as a fine fast bowler. In 2002, he was named the second-greatest Test bowler in cricket history by Wisden. In 2009, Hadlee was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
David Tua is a New Zealand retired professional boxer known for his devastating punching power. From 1996 to 2003, Tua was ranked among the top 10 heavyweights in the world by BoxRec. In 2003, The Ring magazine included him in its 100 greatest punchers of all time list. In 2020, Tua was inducted into the NZ Boxing Hall of Fame.
Martin Crowe was a New Zealand cricket player who captained the national Test and ODI teams. Counted among the greatest batsmen New Zealand has ever produced, Crowe was the highest run-scorer for New Zealand in Test and One Day International cricket at the time of his retirement in 1995. Martin Crowe served as a commentator after retiring as a player.
One of the finest bowlers of the new ball, New Zealand cricketer Trent Boult first grabbed attention at 17, when he became the country’s fastest secondary school bowler. He became the first New Zealand bowler to score a hat-trick in the World Cup and has also had a flourishing career in the IPL.
Martin Guptill is a New Zealand cricket player who plays for the national team. In 2015, Guptill became the first New Zealand batsman to score a double century in an ODI match. His 237 not out is the second highest ODI score after Rohit Sharma's 264. Martin Guptill's 237 remains the highest individual score in a World Cup match.
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.
Scott Dixon is a racing driver who competes in the IndyCar Series. He has won the IndyCar Championship on six occasions. He is also counted among the greatest drivers in the history of Indianapolis 500. Dixon has won the Bruce McLaren Trophy and the Jim Clark Trophy. In 2008 and 2013, he was named New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year.
Brett Lee is an Australian former cricket player best known for his ability to bowl fast. In 2003, Lee played a prominent role in Australia winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. Widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of his generation, Lee finished his One Day International and Test career after having picked 380 and 310 wickets, respectively.
Kalyn Ponga is a rugby league footballer who represents the Newcastle Knights in the National Rugby League (NRL). A multi-skilled sportsperson, Kalyn Ponga played several sports, including soccer, hockey, touch football, golf, and rugby union before becoming a professional rugby league footballer. He even won the under-13 national golf championship in 2010, representing New Zealand.
Daniel Vettori is a New Zealand retired cricket player who captained the national team between 2007 and 2011. A left-arm slow bowler, Vettori relied on his accuracy, guile, and speed variation to outsmart the opposition batsmen. A prolific wicket-taker, Daniel Vettori took 362 wickets in Test matches and 305 wickets in ODIs.
Winston Reid is a New Zealand football player and the current captain of the national football team. In 2011 and 2014, he was adjudged New Zealand Footballer of the Year. Apart from playing for his national team, Winston Reid has also represented popular clubs like West Ham United and Sporting Kansas City.
Former captain of the New Zealand national rugby team, Kieran Read was not just named World Rugby Player of the Year once but was also part of the World Cup-winning New Zealand rugby squads of 2011 and 2015. He has been regarded as one of the world’s best forwards.
Warren Gatland is a rugby union coach and retired player. Widely regarded as one of the most successful coaches in the international rugby union scene, Gatland helped Wales win four Six Nations titles between 2007 and 2019. In 2013, Warren Gatland won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award.
New Zealand racing driver Brendon Hartley soared to fame with his 2 WEC Championship wins. He has competed for teams such as the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and has also won two 24 Hours of Le Mans contests. He has also been part of the United States Grand Prix.
Dylan Hartley is a former rugby union player who played for Northampton Saints for most part of his career. He was also an important member of the England national rugby union team, captaining the side from 2016 to 2018. As captain, Hartley led his side to a 3–0 series win against the Australian side in the 2016 Cook Cup.
Ross Taylor is a New Zealand former cricket player who captained the national team in all formats of the game. With 40 international centuries under his belt, Taylor is considered one of the most successful New Zealand batsmen of all time. Taylor was the leading run-getter for his national Test and ODI teams when he announced his retirement in 2021.
Julian Savea is a New Zealand professional rugby player who played a major role in his national team's triumph at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. With eight tries under his belt, Savea was the highest try-scorer of the World Cup. Julian Savea is also one of New Zealand's highest try-scorers of all time.
New Zealand rugby player Sam Whitelock is one of the 4 Whitelock brothers who have played high-level rugby. He was part of the World Cup-winning New Zealand squads in 2011 and 2015. He also owns a farm and has been an ambassador for Farmstrong, an initiative that helps farmers.
Michael Holding is a Jamaican retired cricket player best known as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. Nicknamed the Whispering Death, Holding was among the most feared bowlers of his time. Michael Holding picked 249 Test wickets and 142 ODI wickets during his illustrious career.
Tana Umaga is a New Zealand retired rugby union footballer who served as the captain of the national rugby union team. After retiring as a player, Umaga took up coaching career and served as the head coach of the Blues from 2016 to 2018. In 2021, he was appointed as the assistant coach of the Samoa national rugby union team.
Arguably the most successful captain of the New Zealand cricket team, Stephen Fleming has also been one of the country’s best batsmen. He also became the first from his country to appear in over 100 Test matches. He later turned to coaching and also contributed to setting up the digital sports platform CricHQ.
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.