He passed away more than 18 months ago but Sir Edmund Hillary still tops the list of the greatest living New Zealanders, according to a recent poll.

Officially former Prime Minister Helen Clark topped the Research New Zealand poll of 500 people, commissioned by One News, followed by All Black legend Sir Colin Meads and Olympic triple gold medallist Sir Peter Snell.

Even though people were clearly asked who was the greatest living New Zealander, Sir Ed, the first man to climb Mt Everest, still recorded by far the most votes.

Victoria University psychology lecturer Matt Crawford said many people were so used to thinking of Sir Ed as the greatest living New Zealander that his name came to mind very quickly.