The Most Famous New Zealand Athlete: Ranking the Icons

Choose the athlete you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 3, 2023 11:15)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We're excited to present our latest ranking - "Who is the most famous New Zealand athlete?" We've compiled a list of exceptional Kiwi athletes who've made a significant impact in their respective sports, and now it's your turn to decide who stands out from the rest. Will it be a rugby legend like Richie McCaw, or an Olympic champion like Lisa Carrington? The choice is yours! Cast your vote now, and if you think we've missed an iconic New Zealand athlete, don't hesitate to suggest them. Dive into the world of New Zealand's sporting heroes, join the conversation, and together let's crown the most famous Kiwi athlete!

Who Is the Most Famous New Zealand Athlete?

  1. 1
    Famous for being the first person to summit Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary is widely regarded as one of the greatest New Zealand athletes of all time.
    Sir Edmund Hillary in other rankings
  2. 2
    A shot putter who has won two Olympic gold medals and four world championships, Valerie Adams is known for her incredible strength and technique.
  3. 3
    A legendary rugby player who helped lead the New Zealand All Blacks to multiple victories, Jonah Lomu was known for his incredible speed and power.
    Jonah Lomu in other rankings
  4. 4
    The captain of the New Zealand rugby team that won the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Richie McCaw is widely regarded as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.
    Richie McCaw in other rankings
  5. 5
    Lydia Ko
    Wojciech Migda (Wmigda) · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A professional golfer who has won multiple LPGA Tour events, Lydia Ko is known for her incredible accuracy and consistency on the course.
    Lydia Ko in other rankings
  6. 6
    Peter Snell
    Unknown (Asahi Shinbun) · Public domain
    A middle-distance runner who won three Olympic gold medals and set multiple world records, Peter Snell is widely regarded as one of the greatest New Zealand athletes of all time.
  7. 7
    A world-renowned sailor who has won multiple America's Cup championships, Russel Coutts is known for his incredible skill and strategy on the water.
  8. 8
    Sarah Ulmer
    © James F. Perry · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A former track cyclist who won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Sarah Ulmer is known for her incredible endurance and dedication to the sport.
  9. 9
    Ian Ferguson
    Oliverfirefox · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A former kayaker who won multiple Olympic gold medals and world championships, Ian Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the greatest kayakers of all time.
  10. 10
    A former swimmer who won multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships, Anna Simcic is known for her incredible speed and technique in the pool.

Missing your favorite athlete?


Ranking factors for famous athlete

  1. Achievements
    Assess the athlete's success in their respective sport, such as Olympic medals, world championships, and records held. The more notable their accomplishments, the higher their rank.
  2. Recognition
    Consider the athlete's recognition within their sport and beyond. Look at awards won, honors received, and overall reputation among peers and fans.
  3. Popularity
    Evaluate the athlete's popularity and following, both locally and internationally. This can be determined by social media presence, fan base, endorsements, and media coverage.
  4. Cultural impact
    Consider the athlete's influence on New Zealand's culture and society, both within and outside the realm of sports. Look at their role in inspiring future generations or their impact on promoting national pride.
  5. Longevity
    Take into account the athlete's career span and consistency. Athletes who have maintained success over a longer period tend to earn more recognition and fame.
  6. Media exposure
    Evaluate the athlete's media exposure, including appearances in various forms of media, such as interviews, documentaries, or sponsorships. This can significantly contribute to their fame.
  7. Global recognition
    Consider how widely recognized the athlete is on an international level. Their fame transcending national boundaries contributes to their overall ranking.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous New Zealand athlete. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or athlete is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 224 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each athlete once every 24 hours. The rank of each athlete is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous new zealand athlete

New Zealand has produced many world-class athletes, known for their exceptional performances and remarkable achievements across various sports. From rugby to cricket, sailing to athletics, New Zealand athletes have made their mark on the world stage. The country's sporting heroes have inspired generations of athletes and fans alike, and their names are etched in the annals of sporting history. In this article, we explore the question of who is the most famous New Zealand athlete, and examine the careers of some of the country's most successful sports stars.

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