Filmmaker: Peter Jackson
He may have three Oscars and a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit but if there's any award that New Zealand's most famous director deserves it's for tourism. His Lord of the Rings trilogy showed off New Zealand's extraordinary forests and uplands in a way no multimillion-dollar campaign could ever do, and travelers have responded in their droves. Jackson's love for his country is also evident offscreen: in his refusal to decamp to Hollywood, and his insistence on holding the world premiere of The Return of the King in Wellington a wildly popular decision that brought over 100,000 locals onto the streets.
Author: Tim Winton
With such a strong spirit of place running through his work, it's no surprise that the West Australian wordist is a committed environmentalist.
Former Jihadi: David Hicks
Australians were shocked when a working-class Adelaide drifter was arrested in the bleak mountains of Afghanistan and charged as an al-Qaeda fighter. Hicks pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge but many Aussies were upset by his years of detention in Guantánamo Bay.
Politician: Malcolm Turnbull
The Oxford-educated barrister brought blue-blooded passion to the republican cause in the 1990s. As leader of the conservative Liberal Party, he has a new chance to push constitutional change.
Politician: Helen Clark
A survivor from the Lange government of the 1980s and the first woman elected Prime Minister of New Zealand, Clark won three successive elections, rolled back some of the free-market policies of the previous 15 years and nudged her country closer to becoming a republic. She now heads the U.N. Development Program.
Prime Minister: Kevin Rudd
As the rifle-toting son of a dairy farmer, Rudd has solid rural roots. But his agenda is more metropolitan Chinese speaker than typical country boy. Unlike his predecessors, Rudd omitted the Queen from his oath of office. Initiatives such as signing the Kyoto Treaty, apologizing to Aborigines for the stolen generations, and pulling troops out of Iraq represent a break with the recent past.
Runner: Cathy Freeman
When Aboriginal sprinter Freeman took her mark for the 400-m final at the Sydney Olympics, she didn't just have a race to win, she had a nation's hopes to fulfill. Days after lighting the Olympic flame, Freeman shot to victory. The joy, and relief, were palpable.
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