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Most popular Māori baby names for 2016 released

Most popular Māori baby names for 2016 released

Te Tari Taiwhenua The Department of Internal Affairs has released the top 20 Māori baby names for 2016 in association with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2017.

Included for the first time are the top 20 Māori baby names for children born overseas.

The most popular Māori baby names in 2016 for girls, both in New Zealand and overseas, was Maia. For boys Nikau was most popular within New Zealand, while Kai topped the overseas list.

Each name was carefully researched by Te Taura Whiri I te reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission, to confirm it was a Māori name.

Top 20 Māori names for girls and boys are:

Kōtiro / girls - Aotearoa / New Zealand

1. Maia
2. Ariana
3. Manaia
4. Anahera
5. Hana
6. Amaia
7. Aroha
8. Ataahua
9. Tia
10. Ria
11. Tui
12. Kaea
13. Kara
14. Tiare
15. Mareikura
16. Miru
17. Kahurangi
18. Marama
19. Moana
20. Huia

Kōtiro / girls - Rāwāhi / Overseas

1. Maia
2. Ariana
3. Hei
4. Manaia
5. Aroha
6. Anahera
7. Hana
8. Kaea
9. Noa
10. Tia
11. Tiare
12. Koa
13. Makaia
14. Moana
15. Ahurei
16. Atawhai
17. Kahukura
18. Kai
19. Kara
20. Kataraina

Tama / boys - Aotearoa / New Zealand

1. Nikau
2. Ari
3. Kauri
4. Manaia
5. Te Ariki
6. Mikaere
7. Ihaia
8. Rawiri
9. Hemi
10. Tai
11. Kahurangi
12. Kai
13. Nikora
14. Tangaroa
15. Wimeru
16. Anaru
17. Ariki
18. Paora
19. Tama
20. Tane

Tama / boys - Rāwāhi / Overseas

1. Kai
2. Manaia
3. Ari
4. Nikau
5. Tamati
6. Tane
7. Ariki
8. Kauri
9. Tai
10. Tama
11. Hemi
12. Kaea
13. Matiu
14. Rawiri
15. Mana
16. Manu
17. Teina
18. Wiremu
19. Anaru
20. Hawaiki

Ngahiwi Apanui, CEO of the Māori Language Commission says as awareness and value for te reo Māori in Aotearoa grows, more and more children are receiving Māori names.

“There are a number of reasons parents may give a child a Māori name.

“For some it may be about carrying on whānau and ancestral names and for others it may be about connecting a child with the land of its birth, Aotearoa.

“This is a positive thing and we look forward to the time when Māori names for all New Zealanders becomes commonplace,” says Ngahiwi.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery agrees it is positive to see the use of Māori names continuing to grow both within New Zealand and overseas.

“For many parents the use of a Māori name for their child symbolises their identity as a New Zealander and commitment to the Māori culture,” Jeff says.

Registering a birth in New Zealand is free and has been made easier with SmartStart, the go-to online tool for expectant and new parents introduced last year.

SmartStart has recently made a number of improvements to make it even more accessible to New Zealanders.

These include becoming the home of the new and improved Birth Registration Online and the addition of Te Reo Māori headings for both SmartStart and Birth Registration Online.

“Having Te Reo headings will make processes simpler and easier for Māori to follow, giving a new sense of meaning to each heading and topic,” explains Jeff.

For more information on SmartStart and registering your new-born child, go to


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