Following on the trend from 2020, Singh has again topped the list of most common family names for babies born in
Aotearoa in 2021.
Smith takes second place on the list of top surnames countrywide.
Historically the feminine counterpart to Singh in Sikh communities, Kaur sits in third place for the whole of New
Zealand. The numbers start to tell a different story when looking separately at each region.
“Unlike the most popular first names for babies which tend to retain popularity across the country, data for family
names differs, painting a beautiful picture of the cultural history of each region of Aotearoa,” notes Jeff Montgomery,
“It’s a joy each year to get a feel for how the communities in each region are growing and thriving through looking at
something as simple as the most common baby family names.”
Common Chinese names Wang and Li appear in fifth and sixth places respectively in the top 10 surnames for Tāmaki
Makaurau (Auckland). Neither name appears in the overall top 10.
Similarly, Anderson and Thomas, in the sixth and eighth spots atop the 10 most common names for babies born in the South
Island, but did not reach the overall top 10.
Every year the Registrar-General shares the most popular baby names by gathering information from SmartStart
. The site, which can be used anytime and on any device, also explains what parents need to do to get an IRD number for
their baby, how to adjust a Ministry of Social Development benefit, and how to apply for the $60 a week BestStart
payment. Registering your child in this way is free, fast and efficient.
In 2021, an incredible 99% of New Zealand-born babies were registered using the tool for new parents. Tracking baby name data through birth registrations creates a sense of belonging and collective memory to build an
inclusive Aotearoa.Top 10 – all family namesAll New ZealandAll North IslandAll South IslandNameCountNameCountNameCountSingh410Singh339Smith74Smith318Kaur252Singh64Kaur303Smith236Wilson57Williams238Patel185Williams50Patel215Williams179Brown47Wilson211Brown152Anderson46Brown203Wilson148Jones43Taylor187Taylor144Thomas40Jones161Sharma133Kaur38Sharma150Jones110Taylor35