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.
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.
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.
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.
Costa Ronin is a Russian-born New Zealand cinematographer and actor. He is best known for his appearances in international projects like Red Dog, East West 101, The Americans, and Homeland. In addition to being a cinematographer and actor, Costa Ronin is also a passionate motorcyclist.
Fred Hollows became a renowned name in the field of ophthalmology after helping thousands of people see by restoring their sight. Born in New Zealand, Hollows later became an Australian citizen. He had initially aspired to join the clergy but had decided against it after visiting a mental institution.
John Money was a New Zealand sexologist, psychologist, and author. He is best remembered for his research into biology of gender and sexual identity. He is credited with coining the terms sexual orientation, gender role, and gender identity. John Money was also criticized for endorsing conversion therapy among other unethical practices. His books have been translated into numerous languages.
Fran Walsh is a New Zealand film producer and screenwriter. Along with her partner Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh has produced films like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which earned her three Academy Awards in 2004.
Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton soared to fame with her debut award-winning novel The Rehearsal. She has also been a scriptwriter, adapting one of her books into a series and writing for films such as Emma. She also offers a grant to budding authors with great talent.
American-born New Zealand-Belgian author Christine Leunens is best known for her bestselling novels such as Primordial Soup and Caging Skies, with the latter inspiring the critically acclaimed movie Jojo Rabbit. Interestingly, she had initially worked as a print model to fund her first book. She has also been a screenwriter.
John Clarke was a New Zealand writer, comedian, and satirist. A highly regarded writer, Clarke's work appeared on ABC in both television and radio. The recipient of three ARIA Music Awards, Clarke is best remembered for his collaboration with Bryan Dawe; the two released several comedy albums. In 2008, Clarke was made an inductee of the Logies Hall of Fame.
Indian-born New Zealand politician Priyanca Radhakrishnan grew up in a family that had roots in left-wing Indian politics. After moving to New Zealand, she worked as a social worker till she joined the New Zealand Labour Party. She later scripted history by becoming the first Indian-origin minister of New Zealand.
Michael King was a New Zealand biographer, historian, and author. He is remembered for writing a book titled Penguin History of New Zealand, which became a best-seller and the most famous New Zealand book in the year 2004. A much-respected writer, King won several literary awards, such as the Feltex television writers' award and Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.
New Zealand author Patricia Grace is regarded as one of the most significant figures in Maori literature. Though half-Maori and half-European, she identified as a Maori. Initially a teacher, she later turned to full-time writing. She soared to fame as a children’s author and is also known for her novels and short stories.
New Zealand author Witi Ihimaera started his career as a newspaper writer and then worked as a postal worker, before scripting history as the first Maori to publish a novel and a collection of short stories. His novel The Whale Rider was later made into an award-winning film.
Ronald Syme was a New Zealand-born classicist and historian. Considered the greatest exponent of Roman Empire's history since Edward Gibbon, Syme is also regarded as the most brilliant historian of ancient Rome since 19th century. Syme is best remembered for his 1939 work The Roman Revolution, a controversial analysis of political life in Rome after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
Geoffrey Palmer is a New Zealand legal academic, lawyer, and former politician. He is best known for his service as the Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1989 to 1990. Geoffrey Palmer also served as the Minister of Justice from 1984 to 1989, during which he introduced many reforms in the country's constitutional and legal framework.
Fleur Adcock is a New Zealand poet and editor. She is of English and Northern Irish ancestry and has lived much of her life in England. She studied Classics at Victoria University of Wellington and began her career as an assistant lecturer at the University of Otago. She has worked as a freelance writer since 1980.
Known as Gentleman Jack for his politeness, New Zealand National Party politician Jack Marshall served as his country’s prime minister and had also been its minister of overseas trade. Initially a qualified lawyer, too, he devoted himself to writing books and actively engaged in cultural and charitable activities.
Nicky Hager is a New Zealand investigative journalist best known for his highly influential books like Secret Power and Dirty Politics. His investigative work has earned him a place in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists; Nicky Hager is one of only two members from New Zealand.
John Psathas is a New Zealand composer whose works have been performed and popularized by well-known artistes like Evelyn Glennie, Michael Brecker, Michael Houstoun, and Joshua Redman. One of New Zealand's best known composers, John Psathas has received several prestigious awards, including New Zealand Music Awards.
Nicholas Agar is a New Zealand professor who has been teaching ethics at the prestigious Victoria University of Wellington since 1996. Over the years, Nicholas Agar has also written several books on human enhancement and technological change.
Lydia Wevers was a New Zealand literary critic, literary historian, book reviewer, and editor. Apart from reviewing books, Wevers also reviewed a number of newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. For her services to literature, Lydia Wevers was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit during the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours.