Well-known atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins has been forced to cancel his upcoming New Zealand tour due to health problems.

The 74-year-old suffered a stroke on Saturday night which has left him unable to make his planned Australia and New Zealand tour.

He was due to appear at an event in Wellington on March 4 to give a talk about his recent second volume memoir, A Life in Science, scheduled as part of NZ Festival's Writers Week.

NZ Festival said in a press release that Mr Dawkins was now at home recuperating and expected to make a full recovery.

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Those with tickets have been told to hold on to them because they will still be valid for a rescheduled appearance later this year.

Alternatively, ticket holders can request a refund.

Mr Dawkins is best known for his top-selling books on evolution and his criticisms of Christians, creationists and Islamists.