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Creatives

From revolutionising cinema with Taika Waititi to mesmerising the world with Parris Goebel’s choreography, New Zealand creatives continue to captivate and inspire global audiences.

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Peter Gordon

Chef

Peter Gordon (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu) is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s culinary greats. A highly acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author, he is widely known for his innovative fusion cuisine that blends flavours from different cultures. He has transformed the way many of us think about flavour and food.

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Billy Apple

Conceptual Artist

Celebrated artist Billy Apple has fronted two international art movements – pop and conceptual art. Born Barrie Bates in Auckland on New Year’s Eve 1935, he attended Mount Albert Grammar School until he was 15.

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Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby

Comedians

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement (Ngāti Kahungunu) formed Flight of the Conchords in Wellington in 1998. They began working in the live comedy circuit around the country, where they quickly became (in their own words): “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.”

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Katherine Mansfield

Writer

Internationally renowned writer Katherine Mansfield has been called one of the 20th century’s most fearless and funny writers. Her short stories, poetry, reviews, journals, and letters have been translated into more than 25 languages.

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Keri Hulme

Writer

Keri Hulme (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe) was born on 9 March 1947 in Christchurch. The eldest of six children, her father John’s family came to Aotearoa New Zealand from Lancashire, England, and her mother Mary’s family was of Orkney Scots and Māori heritage. Although she didn’t grow up immersed in Māori culture, Keri was drawn to it, creating a Māori dictionary from a very early age, and adding to it over the decades.

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Lisa Reihana

Artist

Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tū) is a contemporary multimedia artist from Aotearoa New Zealand, known for her innovative approach to blending traditional Māori art and storytelling with modern technology, and prompting people to revisit and reframe both history and modern-day life. Her work has won her global recognition and cemented her status as one of New Zealand’s most important cultural figures.

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Lucy Lawless

Actor

Known for her break-out role in Xena: Warrior Princess (1995), you’d be forgiven for thinking Lucy Lawless hails from somewhere in North America, but Lucille Ryan was born in Auckland on 29 March 1968, the fifth of seven siblings, and the eldest girl to Frank and Julie Ryan.

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Kiri Te Kanawa, Malvina Major, Donald McIntyre

Opera Singers

For decades Aotearoa New Zealand has been producing world-class opera singers who have opened the door for future generations to perform.

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Dame Miranda Harcourt, Thomasin McKenzie

Actors

Miranda Harcourt was born into a well-known New Zealand acting family in 1962. The daughter of Dame Kate Harcourt and her husband Peter, she grew up surrounded by actors, musicians, and writers at her parents’ parties, at recording sessions at Radio New Zealand, and at rehearsals at Downstage Theatre in Wellington.

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Sir Peter Jackson, Dame Fran Walsh

Filmmakers

Peter Jackson’s passion for filmmaking began as a child. At the age of five, his parents purchased their first TV, and he was introduced to the world of fantasy and stop-motion animation through Thunderbirds and King Kong. His interest deepened when his parents acquired a Super 8 movie camera, which Peter used to create short movies with his friends from his home in Wellington.

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Richard O’Brien

Actor

Richard O’Brien is a multi-talented writer, actor and musician, best known as the creator of the cult classic stage musical The Rocky Horror Show and its iconic film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He has left an everlasting mark on the entertainment industry, inspiring generations of fans with his creativity, wit and vision.

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Rose Matafeo

Comedian

Rose Matafeo is making big waves in the comedy world. She has already amassed an impressive resumé of stand-up comedy performances, TV shows and films.

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Temuera Morrison

Actor

Actor Temuera Morrison (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rārua) was born into a family of performers on 26 December 1960. His grandmother Kahu had been singing professionally from the age of 16, and his father Laurie was a founding member of the Howard Morrison Quartet, a popular singing group set up by Howard Morrison (Temuera’s uncle) in 1956.

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Taika Waititi

Filmmaker

Taika Waititi (Te Whānau-a-Apanui) is a New Zealand filmmaker, actor and comedian who gained international recognition for his idiosyncratic style of storytelling. Arguably our most globally successful contemporary film creator, his works demonstrate huge originality and sophisticated humour, while often proudly representing Aotearoa New Zealand and te ao Māori.

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Phil Keoghan

Television Presenter

Phil has been sharing stories in front of a TV camera for more than 30 years and is arguably the most travelled host on the planet. He hosts and is an executive producer of CBS’s multi-Emmy Award-winning reality series The Amazing Race – now in its 36th season – where international travel is a competitive sport, with pairs of contestants gradually eliminated from the competition if they’re too slow.

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Parris Goebel

Choreographer

Choreographing one Super Bowl halftime show is an achievement, but to design and choreograph two of these global prime time shows marks Parris Goebel as a creative talent at the top of her game.

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Melanie Lynskey

Actor

When people hear Melanie Lynskey speak in her regular voice, they’re often surprised to hear the soft sounds of a New Zealand accent.