New Zealand’s most popular baby names in 2018

Published: Thu 10 Jan 2019 09:48 AM
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’ namesRANKGIRLS2018 COUNT RANKBOYS2018 COUNT1Charlotte221 1Oliver2682Isla217 2Jack2573Olivia201 3Noah2274Amelia197 4Leo2095Ella182 5Hunter1956Harper179 6George1917Isabella176 7Lucas1878Emily173 8James1849Mia171 9William18410Ava167 10Mason181
2018 top 20 Māori namesRANKGIRLS2018 COUNT RANKBOYS2018 COUNT1Mia180 1Nikau472Aria172 2Ari333Maia80 3Manaia294Ariana50 4Mateo275Nina47 5Ihaia266Kaia41 6Te Ariki257Anahera39 7Mikaere238Amaia37 8Manaaki229Manaia33 9Kauri2210Kora32 10Kai2111Anika23 11Ariki2012Aroha21 12Tai1913Ana20 13Kahurangi1614Amara19 14Tamati1615Aaria16 15Taika1616Hana16 16Rawiri1417Tia15 17Nikora1418Tiana15 18Anaru1319Tui14 19Taimana1320Ataahua14 20Tama13
For the full list of most popular baby names, and for more information on registering your baby, visit

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