The formation of cilia is a fundamental developmental process affecting diverse functions such as cellular signaling, tissue morphogenesis and body patterning. However, the mechanisms of ciliogenesis during vertebrate development are not fully understood. In this report we describe a novel role of the Nlz1 protein in ciliogenesis. We demonstrate morpholino-mediated knockdown of nlz1 in zebrafish causes abnormal specification of the cells of Kupffer's vesicle (KV); a severe reduction of the number of cilia in KV, the pronephros, and the neural floorplate; and a spectrum of later phenotypes reminiscent of human ciliopathies. In vitro and in vivo data indicate that Nlz1 acts downstream of Foxj1a and Wnt8a/presumed canonical Wnt signaling. Furthermore, Nlz1 contributes to motile cilia formation by positively regulating Wnt11/presumed non-canonical Wnt signaling. Together, our data suggest a novel role of nlz1 in ciliogenesis and the morphogenesis of multiple tissues.