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New Zealand’s most popular baby names in 2018


10 January 2019

New Zealand’s most popular baby names in 2018 released

Charlotte and Oliver remain New Zealand’s most popular baby names, taking the top spots once again in 2018. Mia and Nikau are the most loved Māori names, both overseas and here in New Zealand. The full list of top baby names is available on SmartStart, an online tool for new parents.

Jeff Montgomery, Registrar-General Births, Deaths and Marriages, says registering your baby is an important step. It ensures your child has an official identity, and can access their legal rights as they grow up. Doing so is now even easier as SmartStart centralises those services in one easy to use site.

“The last thing new parents want to be doing is filling out a raft of forms – SmartStart is a free, fast, and efficient way to register your child, obtain an IRD number, and even adjust a Ministry of Social Development benefit. You can complete those tasks anytime, on any device,” says Mr Montgomery.

“This year, parents can also apply for the weekly BestStart payment at the same time as registering their baby.”

A total of 13,668 different first names were given to 59,302 babies in 2018. Charlotte and Oliver have been consistent in popularity for many years – Oliver has been the most popular boy’s name for six years in a row. Oliver’s female counterpart, Olivia, has been in close competition with Charlotte since 2011, with the two swapping first and second place many times.

Jack and Isla were ranked second most popular this year.

Nikau remains number one for the most popular Māori boy’s name, having topped the list for the last few years, while Mia is a new entry.

The top Māori baby names were calculated and researched in partnership with the e Taura Whiri I te reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission. Colin Feslier, Principal Advisor at the Commission, says Māori names have significant cultural and spiritual meaning.

“In Māori tradition, names are given to reinforce memories of past events, family members, or in reference to the qualities hoped for in the child. Whatever the specific motivation, the traditional intent is always to recognise the mana of the child within a community,” Mr Feslier explains.

“Non–Māori who bestow Māori names can do so to recognise and reinforce the links between all who live in New Zealand through te reo Māori, a language for us all.”

Mr Montgomery agrees, saying that the increased popularity of Māori names worldwide was exciting to see.

“Our names are an important part of our identity, our culture, and often, our heritage. People of all different beliefs and cultures recognise that the naming of a child is powerful and significant. It’s great that kiwis and even those overseas are engaging with our Māori culture,” he says.

2018 top 10 girls’ and boys’ names

1Charlotte221 1Oliver268
2Isla217 2Jack257
3Olivia201 3Noah227
4Amelia197 4Leo209
5Ella182 5Hunter195
6Harper179 6George191
7Isabella176 7Lucas187
8Emily173 8James184
9Mia171 9William184
10Ava167 10Mason181

2018 top 20 Māori names

1Mia180 1Nikau47
2Aria172 2Ari33
3Maia80 3Manaia29
4Ariana50 4Mateo27
5Nina47 5Ihaia26
6Kaia41 6Te Ariki25
7Anahera39 7Mikaere23
8Amaia37 8Manaaki22
9Manaia33 9Kauri22
10Kora32 10Kai21
11Anika23 11Ariki20
12Aroha21 12Tai19
13Ana20 13Kahurangi16
14Amara19 14Tamati16
15Aaria16 15Taika16
16Hana16 16Rawiri14
17Tia15 17Nikora14
18Tiana15 18Anaru13
19Tui14 19Taimana13
20Ataahua14 20Tama13

For the full list of most popular baby names, and for more information on registering your baby, visit


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