Famous New Zealanders

Famous New Zealanders Who Have Made Their Country Proud

New Zealanders, or the Kiwis as they are popularly known, are reputed to be very sophisticated, learned, and talented people. They have made their mark in various fields. To know about some well-known personalities from these islands, read on...
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
New Zealand is an island country located in the south-western Pacific Ocean. Due to its rugged landscapes and isolated position, people born in New Zealand are considered to be very brave, self-reliant, and hardy. These qualities have helped them prove their skills in their chosen fields. Here are some famous New Zealanders who have excelled in their respective fields.
Ernest Rutherford, Physicist (1871-1937)
Ernest Rutherford was a renowned chemist from New Zealand, and is known as the 'Father of Nuclear Physics'. He revolutionized the theory of the structure of an atom, and is regarded as the pioneer of modern theories of nuclear physics. Rutherford established the 'planetary model' of the atom, which is often referred to as the Rutherford model of atom. According to his theory, the central part of an atom is occupied by a small, densely concentrated charged substance (which is the nucleus). He proposed that the electrons in an atom revolve around the central mass in orbits, in a similar manner to how the planets move around the sun. He also identified alpha and beta rays as two different types of radiations emitted by radioactive elements like uranium and thorium. Rutherford won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908.
Harold Williams, Linguist (1876-1928)
Harold Williams was a famous linguist, who started his career as a journalist. He worked with The Times as the foreign editor, and was highly appreciated for the execution of his responsibilities as a foreign correspondent. Later, he went on to become an accomplished linguist. His name has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest linguist in the world. He is said to have had the rare ability to speak in 58 languages and related dialects.
Alexander Aitken, Mathematician (1895-1967)
Alexander Aitken is said to be the greatest mathematician the country has ever produced. Aitken, who was also known as 'The Human Computer', had an exceptional memory and an amazing calculating power. He could multiply any two given 9-digit numbers in his head and deliver the answer in just 30 seconds! In 1939, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of London for his contribution in the fields of algebra, numerical analysis, and statistics. Since 1995, the New Zealand Mathematical Society has initiated the 'Aitken Prize' to commemorate the contributions of this legendary mathematician. This prize is given to the best talk by a student at its annual NZ Mathematics Colloquium held every year.
Edmund Hillary, Mountaineer (1919-2008)
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a world-famous mountaineer and explorer from New Zealand. At the age of 33, he, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, became the first men to successfully scale the summit of Mt. Everest. They reached the highest peak, situated at 29,028 feet above sea level, on May 29, 1953. After successfully conquering the peak of Mt. Everest, Hillary climbed ten more peaks in the Himalayas. In 1958, he was a part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition and led the New Zealand section. His party was the first to reach the South Pole, using motor vehicles.
Peter Jackson, Filmmaker (1961- )
Peter Jackson is an extremely talented filmmaker, who was born in a small coastal town in New Zealand. Apart from being a director, he is also a producer and screenwriter. He is best known for his Lord of The Rings trilogy. This series of films were a big success and Jackson became a popular name in Hollywood. His film, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), won all the eleven Oscars for which it was nominated. It included three awards for Jackson, namely for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing. Thus, Jackson became one of the few people in the history of the Academy Awards to have received three awards in the same year.
Richard Hadlee, Cricketer (1951- )
Sir Richard Hadlee is the former bowling all-rounder from New Zealand. This right arm fast bowler represented the national cricket team in 86 test matches in a career that spanned 18 years. His deadly outswingers were a nightmare for many of the world's best batsmen. In 1989-90, he became the first bowler to take a record number of 400 wickets in the history of international cricket. As a bowler, he took a total of 431 wickets, which was then a world record. He had also scored 3124 runs with a batting average of 27.16. He is considered as one of the topmost all-rounders of all times.
New Zealand is endowed with such gifted personalities who, despite many odds, have made valuable contributions to various fields and successfully proved their mettle to the entire world. These people have set such high standards in their respective domains that every New Zealander is proud of them.
model of atom by Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford