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 
Israel Adesanya
(Mixed martial artist)

Israel Adesanya
57
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

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.

 2 
Russell Crowe
(Actor Best Known for His Roles in the Films 'Gladiator', 'The Insider' and 'A Beautiful Mind')

Russell Crowe
38
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.

 3 
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.

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

Peter Jackson
15
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
(First person to climb Mt. Everest)

Edmund Hillary
26
Listed In: Miscellaneous
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
(Filmmaker Best Known for His Films: 'Boy', 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' and 'What We Do in the Shadows')

Taika Waititi
33
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.

 7 
Lorde
(Known for Her Unconventional Musical Styles and Introspective Songwriting)

Lorde
29
Listed In: Singers
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
(Actor)

Karl Urban
24
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.

 9 

Ernest Rutherford
16
Listed In: Scientists
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
(Actor)

KJ Apa
54
Birthdate: June 16, 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.

 11 
Sam Neill
(Actor)

Sam Neill
14
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.

 12 
Ben Stokes
(Cricketer)

Ben Stokes
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 4, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

Ben Stokes is an English cricketer. Considered one of the most important players in all three formats of the game, Stokes was honored with the ICC Award for Best Men's Cricketer in 2019. In 2019 and 2020, he was adjudged the Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World. Ben Stokes is currently serving as the captain of the England Test team.

 13 
Jacinda Ardern
(40th Prime Minister of New Zealand (Since 2017))

Jacinda Ardern
29
Listed In: Leaders
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.

 14 
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.

 15 

Daniel Gillies
17
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.

 16 
Rob Hall
(Mountaineer)

Rob Hall
10
Listed In: Miscellaneous
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.

 17 

Martin Henderson
12
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.

 18 
Temuera Morrison
(Actor who played roles in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)

Temuera Morrison
7
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. 

 19 

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.

 20 
Jemaine Clement
(New Zealand Comedian)

Jemaine Clement
11
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.

 21 
Jonah Lomu
(Rugby Player)

Jonah Lomu
8
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: 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.

 22 

Stella Maxwell
18
Listed In: Fashion
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.

 23 
Steven Adams
(Basketball player)

Steven Adams
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 20, 1993
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rotorua, New Zealand

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. 

 24 
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.

 25 
Sonny Bill Williams
(Boxer, Rugby Player)

Sonny Bill Williams
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

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.

 26 

Joseph Parker
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

 27 
Kane Williamson
(Cricketer)

Kane Williamson
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
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. 

 28 

Cliff Curtis
7
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.

 29 
Mark Hunt
(Mixed martial artist)

Mark Hunt
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
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.

 30 
Bruce McLaren
(Motorcycle racer, Racecar driver)

Bruce McLaren
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greater Auckland
Died: June 2, 1970

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.

 31 
Antony Starr
(Actor famous for his portrayal of twins Van and Jethro West in the hit New Zealand television series Outrageous Fortune)

Antony Starr
8
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.

 32 
Benee
(Singer-songwriter)

Benee
9
Listed In: Singers
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.

 33 
Lesley-Ann Brandt
(Film actress)

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

 34 
Jay Ryan
(actor, film actor)

Jay Ryan
4
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.

 35 
Rhys Darby
(Actor, Comedian)

Rhys Darby
5
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.

 36 
Manu Bennett
(Actor, Model)

Manu Bennett
4
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.

 37 
Neil Finn
(Co-Founder of the Rock Band 'Split Enz' and Member of the Bands: 'Crowded House' & 'Fleetwood Mac')

Neil Finn
1
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Te Awamutu, New Zealand

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.

 38 

Marton Csokas
6
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.

Katherine Mansfield
4
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.

 40 
Richie McCaw
(Rugby player)

Richie McCaw
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 31, 1980
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oamaru, New Zealand

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.

 41 
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.

 42 
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.

 43 

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

 44 
Rachel Hunter
(Model, Actress)

Rachel Hunter
11
Listed In: Fashion
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. 

 45 

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.

 46 
Bret McKenzie
(Comedian)

Bret McKenzie
2
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. 

 47 
Brendon McCullum
(Cricketer)

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

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. 

 48 

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

 49 

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

 50 
Dakota Kai
(Wrestler)

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