New Zealander

Whether you are a nature lover, thrill chaser, energetic adventurer or are a lover of the rich and the famous, New Zealand is the place for you. That is true! Agreed no place on Earth can rival New Zealand when it comes to its physical charms. But then, the country boasts of an incredible number of great men and women who stands as a testament to the country’s versatility and superlative talent. These internationally acclaimed New Zealanders inspired, radicalized, and changed the world with the ground-braking thought, actions, and accomplishments, thereby capturing the world’s imagination. From Edmund Hillary, one of the first men to conquer Mt. Everest to Katherine Mansfield, the short story pioneer and from Bruce McLaren, the legendary racecar driver to Richard Pearse, the trailblazing aviator, these Kiwis have stamped excellence in whatever enterprise they took to. Explore the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on some famous New Zealanders in the biographies below.

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

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 1 Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe
17
Famous As: Actor
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 Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya
22
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

 3 Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin
18
Famous As: Actress
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.

 4 Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson
5
Famous As: Film Director, Producer & Screenwriter
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 Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary
13
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: First person to climb Mt. Everest
Birthdate: July 20, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Died: January 11, 2008
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the top of Mount Everest, as part of the British expedition led by John Hunt. Hillary also reached both the poles. He later served as an ambassador to Nepal and founded the Himalayan Trust to help the people of Nepal.

 6 Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi
21
Famous As: Film director Known for What We Do in the Shadows and Boy
Birthdate: August 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raukokore, Waihau Bay, New Zealand

 7 Lorde

Lorde
16
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
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.

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 8 Karl Urban

Karl Urban
12
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 7, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wellington

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.

 9 Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford
6
Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: Physicist, Chemist
Birthdate: August 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brightwater, New Zealand
Died: October 19, 1937

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.

 10 KJ Apa

KJ Apa
28
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 16, 1997
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 11 Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern
11
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Prime Minister of New Zealand
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.

 12 Sam Neill

Sam Neill
7
Famous As: Actor, Wine Maker
Birthdate: September 14, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Omagh, Northern Ireland

 13 Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: June 4, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

 14 Lucy Lawless

Lucy Lawless
6
Famous As: Actor, Film producer, Singer
Birthdate: March 29, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Albert, New Zealand
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 15 Melanie Lynskey

Melanie Lynskey
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 16, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand

 16 Daniel Gillies

Daniel Gillies
7
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 14, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Winnipeg

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.

 17 Jonah Lomu

Jonah Lomu
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Rugby Player
Birthdate: May 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand
Died: November 18, 2015

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.

 18 Stella Maxwell

Stella Maxwell
7
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Actress
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.

 19 Jemaine Clement

Jemaine Clement
8
Famous As: New Zealand Comedian
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.

 20 Rob Hall

Rob Hall
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Mountaineer
Birthdate: January 14, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand
Died: May 11, 1996

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.

 21 Steven Adams

Steven Adams
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: July 20, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 22 Thomasin McKenzie

Thomasin McKenzie
16
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 26, 2000
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

 23 Rose McIver

Rose McIver
3
Famous As: Actress
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.

 24 Mark Hunt

Mark Hunt
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: March 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: South Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand MMA fighter and kickboxer Mark Hunt won the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix and also competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Known as the "King of Walk-Offs" due to his habit of walking away before the referee ends the match, Hunt inspired the documentary The Art of Fighting.

 25 Temuera Morrison

Temuera Morrison
3
Famous As: Actor who played roles in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Birthdate: December 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 26 Cliff Curtis

Cliff Curtis
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rotorua

 27 Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Boxer, Rugby Player
Birthdate: August 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Auckland

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.

 28 Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: August 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tauranga
New Zealand national cricket team captain Kane Williamson became the only New Zealander on ICC’s Test team of the decade and led his country to the finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. By 2020, he had been named the world’s top Test batsman, with a batting rating of 890. 

 29 Rachel Hunter

Rachel Hunter
1
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Model, Actress
Birthdate: September 9, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glenfield

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. 

 30 Brett Lee

Brett Lee
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: November 8, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wollongong

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.

 31 Jay Ryan

Jay Ryan
1
Famous As: actor, film actor
Birthdate: August 29, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Auckland

 32 Antony Starr

Antony Starr
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 33 Zoë Bell

Zoë Bell
2
Famous As: Stuntwoman
Birthdate: November 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Waiheke Island, New Zealand

 34 Benee

Benee
3
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 30, 2000
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: 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.

 35 Bruce McLaren

Bruce McLaren
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Motorcycle racer, Racecar driver
Birthdate: August 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greater Auckland
Died: June 2, 1970

 36 Sandro Kopp

Sandro Kopp
0
Famous As: Visual Artist
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heildelberg

German/New Zealand visual artist Sandro Kopp is based in Scotland and explores “mediated presence.” His work merges new-age digital elements with classical painting. He is also known as the boyfriend of Academy Award-winning actor Tilda Swinton. His works have been exhibited all across the globe, including France and Italy.

 37 Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield
0
Listed In: Writers
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.

 38 Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Rugby player
Birthdate: December 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oamaru, New Zealand

 39 Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Cricketer
Birthdate: September 27, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dunedin

 40 Peta Murgatroyd

Peta Murgatroyd
2
Listed In: Dancers
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 14, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 41 Neil Finn

Neil Finn
0
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Te Awamutu

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.

 42 Nancy Wake

Nancy Wake
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: British Secret Agent During World War II
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.

 43 Kerry Bishé

Kerry Bishé
1
Famous As: Actress
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.

 44 Anna Hutchison

Anna Hutchison
0
Famous As: Actress
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

 45 Bret McKenzie

Bret McKenzie
0
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: June 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wellington

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. 

 46 Manu Bennett

Manu Bennett
2
Famous As: Actor, Model
Birthdate: October 10, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

 47 Valerie Adams

Valerie Adams
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Shot Putter
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua
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.

 48 Clarke Gayford

Clarke Gayford
0
Famous As: Radio Broadcaster
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.

 49 Sam Wills

Sam Wills
1
Famous As: Comedian
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.

 50 Jessica Nigri

Jessica Nigri
5
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Cosplayer, Model
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.