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.
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.
Four-time Grammy-winner Keith Urban had already tasted success in Australia, before making his American debut with a platinum-certified solo album. He knows how to play a variety of instruments, including the sitar, guitar, piano, and mandolin. His track Somebody Like You was named Billboard’s greatest country hit of the 2000s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.