Avery tops 2011 most-trusted list

Reader's Digest releases its annual list of the most-trusted New Zealanders ... plus those we've lost faith in.

Inventor and philanthropist Ray Avery tops the Reader’s Digest Trust Survey 2011 ... closely followed by an elf and a frock designer.

The inclusion of several entertainers, plus a celebrity chief, gives the list something of loopy look. An arch cynic would have to inquire whether the opinions of Readers' Digest survey partcipants can be trusted.

Sixth-placed Bret McKenzie played an elf in Lord of the Rings - one of the imaginary world's most trusted species, evidently making him a shoo-in for the publication's real-world list.

Mr McKenzie beat his Flight of the Conchords partner Jemaine Clement. The L&P pitchman could only make 8.

The list's upper reaches are more earnest, however, with scientists dominating.

Rising from number 13 on the 2010 list, Sir Ray Avery; scientist, inventor, and 2010 New Zealander of the Year took out the top spot that Corporal Bill Apiata held for three years prior.  He is followed by Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Peter Gluckman (44th in 2010) and Sir Paul Callaghan, physicist (40th in 2010).  The three lead a very different top 10 to the results of last year, with none of 2010’s top places retaining their ranks.


1. Sir Ray Avery, scientist, inventor, New Zealander of the Year 2010
2. Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister
3. Sir Paul Callaghan, physicist and New Zealander of the Year 2011
4. The Hon. Justice Helen Winkelmann, Chief High Court Judge 
5. Roger Hall, film, TV and theatre actor, playwright
6. Bret McKenzie, comedian, actor, musician 
7. Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, fashion designer
8. Jemaine Clement, comedian, actor, musician
9. Simon Gault, celebrity chef, MasterChef judge
10. Tony Kokshoorn, Grey District Mayor

While the survey looks at the ‘most trusted’ ranking, those who failed to generate support also make for interesting reading.  

At the tail of the list were several politicians ... not promising for an election year: The Rt. Hon. John Key, current Prime Minister (90);  Paul Holmes, broadcaster (91);  Paul Henry, journalist, radio and TV presenter (92);  Jim Anderton, Progressive Party leader (93);  The Hon. Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister (94); The Hon. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs (95);  The Hon. Phil Goff, Labour Party leader (96);  The Hon. Tariana Turia, Maori Party co-leader (97); The Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader (98); The Hon. Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government (99); The Hon. Hone Harawira, activist, and Member for Te Tai Tokerau (100).

Figures who didn’t fare as well in 2011 included Sir Peter Jackson, who fell from 6th equal last year to 74th place, and All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw, who fell from 11th place to 55th – just as the country prepares for the Rugby World Cup. Musician Dave Dobbyn dropped 41 places to number 66 this year, while New Zealand cricket captain Daniel Vettori dropped from number 18 to 58.

In 2009, eight of the top ten spots were occupied by current or former sports champs (and five in 2010) – but this year, All White Ryan Nelsen is the highest ranking sportsperson at number 15 ... and is only joined by Sir Brian Lochore and Brad Thorn in the top 30. Instead, with scientists rising in the ranks, many of the top spots are occupied by entertainers such as Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, who were numbers 53 and 55 respectively last year, but have risen to number 6 (McKenzie) and number 8 (Clement).

A new name on the Most Trusted list for 2011 is Tony Kokshoorn, who at number 10 earned Kiwis’ trust through his management around the Pike River mining tragedy. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker rose 23 places to number 39 on the 2011 list after the Christchurch earthquakes.

In the poll of professions, fire-fighters were again the most trusted, followed by rescue volunteers and paramedics. Journalists and real estate agents trailed the list. 

The specially commissioned 2011 Reader’s Digest Trust Survey was undertaken by independent research firm McCrindle Research. A representative sample of 531 New Zealand adults ranked 100 well known people on a scale of one to ten. They were also asked to rate professions.

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