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NZ's most popular baby names in 2018 released

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

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 Te 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.

For the full list of most popular baby names, and for more information on registering your baby, visit https://smartstart.services.govt.nz/news/baby-names

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