New Zealand Celebrities: 10 of the most famous

May 20, 2021

Whatever your fancy New Zealand is the place to be. Whether you are a nature lover, adrenaline junkie or a lover of all things entertainment, this country packs a big punch. From Edmund Hillary – one of the first men to conquer Mt Everest – to legendary race car driver Bruce McLaren, these Kiwis have excited and entertained thousands around the world.

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Jacinda Ardern

This New Zealand prime minister secured a second term with a landslide victory after successfully guiding the country through the coronavirus pandemic with minimal deaths. Being famous for all the right reasons, this young leader describes kindness and empathy as the heart of her leadership style. “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy.” 

Sir Peter Jackson

The man responsible for film adaptations of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was knighted during 2010 for his significant contribution towards the New Zealand film industry. The Return of the King earned him 3 Academy Awards, including the award for Best Director. 

Jemaine Clement

This comedian, singer, actor, musician and director is known for creating the comedy group Flight of the Conchords. He is the voice behind Nigel in Rio 2 and Tamatoa in Moana and features in Despicable Me as well. 

Stella Maxwell

Victoria’s Secret Angel first moved to New Zealand at the age of 14. While attending the University of Otago, Stella Maxwell was spotted by a modeling agent and this heralded the start of her modeling career. During 2008 she started modeling and subsequently appeared in magazines such as Vogue and Elle. 2014 marked the breakthrough in her career when she was selected as “Victoria’s Secret Angel”. She walked the ramp for designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Brandon Maxwell and Tory Burch.

Daniel Gillies 

The Vampire Diaries star was inclined towards showbusiness from a young age. Since his debut in Street Legal he has since appeared in several popular films (including Spider-Man 2) and television shows such as NCIS, with his big break coming when he was picked for the role of Dr. Joel Goran in Saving Hope. 

Kane Williamson

Regarded as one of the best cricketers in New Zealand, this Kiwi skipper made the fastest 6,000 runs in the traditional form of the game. This right-handed batsman occasionally plays as an off-spin bowler and is the player from New Zealand to have scored a century to date.

Anna Paquin

This actress is best known for her roles in films like The Piano, X-Men and Fly Away Home. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the age of 11. In 2000 she played the role of Rogue in X-Men and reprised her role as Rogue in sequels. Her first Emmy nomination came for her role as Elaine Goodale in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Karl Urban

Best known for his roles in Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings, Karl Urban had a love for the film world from childhood with his first appearance in Pioneer Woman at the tender age of 8. Since his appearance in Ghost Ship the actor has starred in blockbusters such as The Bourne Supremacy, Doom and The Chronicles of Riddick

Benee

Originator of the Supalonely dance challenge of TikTok, it would come as a surprise to Benee’s fans to know that she initially considered a career in water polo! Stella Rose Bennett (Benee) started her music career by posting covers on SoundCloud. 

Jonah Lomu

This fast and powerful winger played 63 tests for New Zealand and at the age of 19 became the youngest All Blacks player playing international games. He holds the Rugby World Cup all-time try score record of 15 tries, and was acclaimed as the top rugby player at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. Unfortunately nephrotic syndrome forced him to retire from professional rugby early in his career. He became an advocate for health charities and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003 and inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2011. His sudden death at the age of 40 came as a shock to many. 

New Zealand is bubbling over with talented people – from the politicians to the musicians, actors and sports heroes, this country continues to entertain and excite people around the world with beautiful views and beautiful people. 

Suggested reading: Top New Zealand Bookmakers 

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