World-changing New Zealanders

Featuring 40+ definitive short biographies of New Zealanders who have changed or benefitted the world in some way. Working from New Zealand and internationally, these scientists, artists, designers, inventors, warriors, and adventurers are inspiration for achievement. Please enjoy and be motivated.

Top New Zealand Legends
Bruce McLaren

Bruce McLaren

Starting from an early age, Aucklander Bruce McLaren was a brilliant and visionary race-car driver. He became engineer, inventor, constructor, tester and created one of the greatest motor racing teams in history…

Richard Pearse

Richard Pearse

Richard Pearse: self-taught inventor, prophetic designer, trail blazing aviator, and eccentric visionary, a modern-day Icarus from down under who, against incredible odds, ingeniously sought the sun and pioneered powered flight…

Joseph Nathan

Joseph Nathan

Joseph Nathan was a New Zealand entrepreneur with extraordinary foresight. On a world scale, he was a pioneer of direct marketing and branding. The Glaxo name now fronts one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline…

Bill Hamilton

Bill Hamilton

Hamilton loved speed. From his homegrown jet propulsion laboratory on the Waitaki river and its tributaries, Bill Hamilton brought the jet age to the water, then took it to the world, revolutionising river and shallow-water navigation...

Brydone & Davidson

Brydone & Davidson

Now exporting meat to more than 190 countries around the world, this is the fascinating story of how the frozen meat export industry began: a story of technology, determination, vision, and pioneering colonialism...

Colin Murdoch

Colin Murdoch

Colin Murdoch designed and invented the disposable syringe, a device that has saved millions of human lives. He is an understated New Zealander who can claim to have revolutionised medical and veterinary science…

Joseph Sinel

Joseph Sinel

Joseph Sinel led a visionary and exuberant life as a founder of the Industrial Design movement in America. A brand pioneer, mixed media maestro, inspirational teacher, disciplined bohemian and, above all, strikingly modern…

William Hudson

William Hudson

New Zealand Engineer Sir William Hudson was the man and motivator behind the Australian Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, considered one of the great engineering achievements of the 20th Century...

Ernest Godward

Ernest Godward

An innovator of many talents. He built power tools, eggbeaters, burglar proof windows and hairpins. He was a sportsman, a musician, a painter, and an expert on weaponry. In short Godward was a brilliant over-achiever…

Robert J Dickie

Robert J Dickie

RJ Dickie invented and patented the world’s first stamp vending machine to be used by thousands around the world. The machine that won highest honours at the 1909 Seattle Expo came from a New Zealander with a single idea…

William Atack

William Atack

Today the referee’s whistle is a ubiquitous feature in sport, but it was William Harrington Atack of Canterbury in June 1884 who became the first sports' referee in the world to use a whistle to stop a game...

John Britten

John Britten

John Britten was a revolutionary motorcycle designer whose home-brewed machine won international ovations with its stunning design, engineering and performance. The medieval roar of the Britten V1000 motorcycle lingers over the tarmac of Kiwi myth…

Burt Munro

Burt Munro

Burt Munro, known as the fastest man from New Zealand, became internationally known for the records he broke at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the 1960s. In eleven record attempting trips to the National Speed Week, the Kiwi …