A New Zealand-born soldier in the Australian Army has been shot dead in Afghanistan.

Corporal Mathew Hopkins, 21, who came from Christchurch, was shot in an intense firefight with Taleban insurgents near the village of Kakarak, 12km north of the Australian base at Tarin Kowt, on Monday.

He was the third New Zealander in a foreign force to die on active duty in Afghanistan.

The others were former Aucklander Sean Patrick McCarthy, 25, a member of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) killed when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb, and Labour leader Phil Goff's nephew, United States Army Captain Matthew Ferrara, 24, killed in an ambush.

Cpl Hopkins had just returned to the frontline after home leave for the birth of his son Alex.

- NZPA