For a small country, New Zealand exports a lot of people. Here are ten Kiwis that you might not actually have known were Kiwis. (Unless you are a Kiwi, in which case you probably did know.)
Russell Crowe is a bigtime Hollywood actor, best known for playing the gladiator in Gladiator. In New Zealand, he’s famous for being one of the many Kiwis “stolen” by Australia. He’s not Australian – he was denied citizenship even though he’s lived most of his life there – and he’s certainly not American. He was born in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.
Just as Russell Crowe will always be the gladiator, Sam Neill will always be Jurassic Park’s Dr. Alan Grant. He was born in Northern Ireland in 1947, but his family returned to New Zealand in 1954. He now lives in Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island, and owns a winery there.
Ernest Rutherford is one of the most important human beings ever to have existed, the father of nuclear physics. He identified the proton, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908, (despite claiming that “all science is either physics or stamp collecting”) and has an element named after him. His ashes are buried beside Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. And, yes, he was a New Zealander. He was born near Nelson in 1871, went to the University of Canterbury, and is on the New Zealand $100 note.
You might have thought she was American, but the actress who will always be Xena: Warrior Princess is a Kiwi from Mount Albert. As well as being an actress, Lucy Lawless is a singer and Greenpeace activist, and helps raise money for Starship, a children’s hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.
Karl Urban is known for playing Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy in the new Star Trek films and Éomer in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also appeared alongside Lucy Lawless in a few episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess. Born in Wellington, he now lives in Auckland and, a true New Zealander, supports the All Blacks.
Daniel Bedingfield is a singer-songwriter who, in 2004, won a BRIT Award for Best British Male Artist. He was actually born in Auckland, New Zealand, and, in 2013, was a judge on The X Factor NZ.
A legendary British comedy writer, Richard Curtis is known for Blackadder, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary – basically anything with Hugh Grant in it – and so much more. He even founded Comic Relief with Lenny Henry and received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award. And he was born in New Zealand. Wellington, to be precise.
Pamela Stephenson is an actress, writer and clinical psychologist. She starred in the British sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News, for which Richard Curtis wrote, and presented Shrink Rap, and is also married to Billy Connolly. She was born in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore.
A British actress best known for playing ‘crazy, wacky Jane’ in Steven Moffat’s Coupling, and her roles in Jekyll and Leverage, Gina Bellman was born in Auckland. Her family moved to England when she was eleven years old.
You know Percy Weasley, Ron’s pompous older brother in the Harry Potter films? Well that’s New Zealand-born actor Chris Rankin. He’s from Rothesay Bay, a small suburb on the North Shore. Who knew?
List complied by Abigail Simpson