His victory at the Rugby World Cup has earned All Blacks captain Richie McCaw another title he can add to the list - he is considered the most trustworthy person in New Zealand.

Former All Black Sir John Kirwan and Olympic gold medallists Peter Snell and Sarah Ulmer are also in the top 10 of the annual Reader's Digest "most trusted survey" released today

Last year, New Zealanders stopped putting their faith in sports stars and ranked scientists as their most trusted citizens. This year, the poll has swung back in athletes' favour.

McCaw made a big jump up the list to top it - last year he was ranked 55th of the 100 people named on the list.


The All Blacks captain has a pretty good idea why he's considered trustworthy.

"Maybe it's because I do what I say I will," he told the magazine. "People get in trouble when their private lives are different to their public lives, whereas what you see of me on TV is exactly the way I am.

"People see that I care about what I do, care about the people around me, care about New Zealand. But I don't think I'm anything special."

With McCaw in the top five are food writer Dame Alison Holst, the Mad Butcher, Sir Peter Leitch, the recently knighted Sir John Kirwan, and Corporal William Apiata VC, who was top for three years.

Sir Peter was 59th last year, and has no idea why he is now so high.

"I just do my thing. In business, I've always tried to be straight up with is something I'm very proud of. In all my years of owning the company, we were never done for having misleading advertising," he told the Herald.

"And I suppose the greatest gift you can give is your time and I give my time quite freely to things."

Dame Alison was very surprised to hear she'd taken the second spot and said it was very pleasing.

She thinks her many years of writing simple and easy cookbooks had something to with being considered so trustworthy.

"I've written books for fifty years now and I've always felt it's very important to teach people how to cook," she said.

"I told them how to make things in a short time that taste good, don't cost too much and that everyone likes."

Prime Minister John Key is back to his 2010 place at 70th last year, after falling to 90th last year, and is second among the politicians - National MP and former TV presenter Maggie Barry was the top-rated, in spot 49.

For the eighth year, firefighters are in the most trusted profession, followed by paramedics, rescue volunteers, nurses, pilots and doctors.

The chief executive and national commander of the Fire Service, Paul Baxter, said people trusted those who come to their aid and the poll result was probably a reflection of that.

"Firefighters provide rapid, willing and impartial assistance to the people in their communities - whether it's a fire, flood, rescue, cardiac arrest, or other emergency."

Telemarketers, door-to-door salesmen and car salespeople were the least trusted, below sex workers, insurance sellers and real estate agents.

The survey was conducted in April by Catalyst Consultancy & Research, which polled 626 adults in two rounds.

The first determined who should be on the list, and the second decided the rankings.

1. Richie McCaw - All Blacks captain
2. Alison Holst - food writer
3. Peter Leitch - businessman, charity worker
4. John Kirwan - former All Black, depression awareness spokesman
5. Willie Apiata - VC, soldier
6. Peter Snell - Olympic gold medallist, scientist
7. Kevin Milne - former TV host, consumer advocate
8. Sarah Ulmer - Olympic gold medallist
9. Jim Hickey - TV weather presenter
10. Judy Bailey - TV presenter, charity worker