Scrap Lorde, Williams and Iti, say some, and bring in Hillary, Jackson and Blake.

The Herald's list of the 50 coolest New Zealanders has polarised the opinions of more than 2000 readers who claim Sonny Bill Williams, Lorde and Tame Iti are not cool.

In the original line-up, published in Saturday's Weekend Herald and based on the subjective term "cool", singer-songwriter Lorde came in at No 2 for being the "most famous and admired New Zealander in the world right now".

Williams was ranked fifth and labelled the "most naturally talented rugby union/league player of his generation", while Iti was listed under heroes and villains as the "mokoed public face of Tuhoe independence".

Readers disagreed, saying Williams (82 mentions), Iti (67) and Lorde (29) should not have been on the list.


Williams was dismissed as "vastly over-hyped in every way" and Iti as "hardly a role model" while some believed 17-year-old Lorde would amount to no more than a one-album wonder.

From inventors and war heroes to pop stars and artists, those on the list were judged to have at least one of four attributes: profile, originality, controversy, and sex appeal.

An overwhelming 553 of the 2131 readers who responded said Sir Edmund Hillary was the biggest and most obvious omission. Described as a legend, an adventurer and a humanitarian, readers were shocked he didn't feature in the list. According to readers the next four in the top 10 names who should have made the list were film-maker Sir Peter Jackson (185 mentions), the late Sir Peter Blake (64), the "father of nuclear physics" Ernest Rutherford (51) and All Black captain Richie McCaw (42).

Many of those suggested for inclusion on the list were featured in the Herald in January 2009 when the paper began a search for the greatest living New Zealander.

The article acknowledged the life and achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary, who had died a year earlier, as forever taking a prominent place in our history.

The 20 possible candidates included cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee, runners Sir Murray Halberg and Peter Snell, Sir Peter Jackson, the late Margaret Mahy, actor Sam Neill, and opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa - all suggested by readers for inclusion in the "cool" list.

To be cool means to remain calm even under stress. But these days there is a global culture of cool.

Sir Bob Harvey, founder of one of the country's largest advertising agencies, MacHarman Ayer, where he worked for 30 years, said the key to being cool was charisma.

"But it's a bit like aftershave, it soon evaporates."

Have your say here.