baby names

This article includes the top 100 baby names for boys in 2018 and the top 100 baby names for girls in 2018 in New Zealand, as well as the top Maori names, biblical names and celebrity names. We also include some great advice on things to consider when choosing baby names.

Are you searching for ideas for baby names? Check out the names below for a list of International favourites and a list of New Zealand favourites.

When considering baby names there are a few things to consider – trends and traditions, nicknames and meanings. Choosing a baby name can be quite tricky.

Choosing a name for your baby is not something parents do at the last minute. Most parents start thinking about names from the moment they know they’re pregnant and some even have names picked out before they conceive.

At the very least, there’s usually a short list of favourites to choose from once baby is born.

All sorts of reasons lead to parents choosing a particular name, and often the hardest part is finding a name that both parents agree on.

Some parents look for names which are purposefully unique and distinctive, while others prefer more classic or traditional titles. A new spelling of an old name is one way to get a compromise.

Usually the meaning or origin of a name is also considered, but more often as an afterthought once the name has already been ‘short listed’.

Family tradition, or remembering a loved one also has a part to play, particularly for middle names.

Old-fashioned names are sometimes modernised so that parents can respect tradition, without landing their child with a name they’ll be embarrassed by.

Things to consider when choosing baby names

Celebrity Trends

Just like everything else, there are definite trends in naming your baby. These trends are often influenced by celebrities and major shifts happen every 5-6 years.

Whether it’s a celebrity’s baby or the celebrity themselves, don’t worry too much about the namesake.

Chances are the celebrity will be well and truly forgotten by the time your baby hits their teens and your child will share their name with ordinary people across the world.


Some parents like names which are particularly distinct, and search out names they have never come across amongst their own community.

Sometimes these names are chosen for their meanings, but often simply because of the way they sound. Some parents even create names or combine traditional names together to create something truly unique.

Giving your child a unique or distinctive name is a nice way to celebrate their identity, but be aware that as your child grows up, they may not be as grateful as you had hoped.

If other children (and adults for that matter) struggle to pronounce your child’s name, then nicknames and teasing can result.


Some families have a name or names that have been carried down for generations. If you like the name and both you and your partner are happy to use it, by all means do so.

If, however, the name or the tradition makes you gasp, there are ways you can keep everyone happy. Find a derivative of the traditional name that you actually like.

Margaret for example could be carried on as Margo or Mariah, and James could become Jamain or Jamie.

If you really dislike the name, but would like to carry on some form of family tradition, have a look through the family tree (after naming my daughter Courtney, I discovered both sides of the family had a Courtney several generations back).

Spelling of Names

Giving a traditional name a unique spelling is a nice way to carve out your child’s identity, but be prepared for people to misspell their name their entire life (even if they are copying it from the correctly spelled version!)

Granted, it’s not necessarily the end of the world, but if you are choosing a unique spelling so that your child can have a distinctive name, then do think carefully about it.

Jazmin will be called Jasmine, Jhorgia will be called Georgia, and Leigham will still be called Liam.

If you do choose a unique spelling because you prefer the way it looks, then you should go for it. You child will get used to saying that’s with 2 r’s and an i. Trust me.

Teasing Material

Like it or not kids can be cruel, and there’s little to battle with it except self confidence and resilience.

Even with a perfectly plain name, there’s bound to be something else your child will be teased about (but don’t panic about it just yet!).

When choosing a name you might want consider how it can be twisted in the playground, but don’t even try to get in the head of an 8 year old – you’ll never win.

Stay away from obvious teasing taunts like initials that spell rude words, or names that rhyme with less than pleasant words, but other than that you’re better spending your energy on building self confidence and a resilient nature.


Nicknames are a bit of a two-edged sword. Some people believe nicknames are a term of affection, whereas others feel it’s a slur on their identity.

If you don’t want your child’s name to be shortened, then you need to be directive with your friends and family. As your child grows older, you should be prepared to let them make their own decisions regarding a nickname.

Choosing a short name (or one that’s hard to shorten) can sometimes help deter nicknames, but not always.

I chose my daughter’s names with the ‘no nickname’ theory, but already at ages 8 and 10 their nicknames are well and truly ingrained. Courtney has been shortened to Courts, and Eden to Eeds. Go figure?

Meaning or Origin of Baby Names

The meaning or origin of a name can make it extra special, but it doesn’t have to be your first consideration.

Once you’ve short-listed some favourites, you may like to check out the meanings just for curiosity’s sake.Finding that one of your short-list means ‘weak willed’ or ‘unfortunate lesson’, may help you with your final decision!

If you want to jump straight to the meaning of names, go here for boy names and meanings and go here for girl names and meanings.

Follow your Heart

Without a doubt, the most important thing to consider when choosing a name for your baby is ‘what feels right to you’?

Logic, tradition, trends and meanings all play a part, but when it comes to the crunch you need to follow your heart.

What are the trending baby names for 2018?

The most interesting trends for 2018 is that Charlotte has once again topped the list of girl’s most popular names, and Oliver continues a 5 year streak as the boy’s most popular name in New Zealand.

Harper, as a girl’s name, continues it’s meteoric rise, and is now the second most popular girl’s name; six years ago it didn’t even make the list! Mila is another name that’s jumped in popularity this year, sneaking into the top 10; perhaps due to the success of Mila Brener, or even Mila Kunis?

Similarly the boy’s name Arlo sneaks into the top 10, after having risen every year for the last 5 years. Not surprisingly, George continues to make a comeback after Prince George was born 4 years ago.

Traditional names are still all the rage in New Zealand according to the latest releases from Births Deaths & Marriages New Zealand. Names like Jack, Noah, William, James and George for boys, and Olivia, Isla, Amelia, Ava and Sophie for girls continue to be popular.

Finding just the right name is important, so we’ve tried to make it easy for you by gathering some favourite (and not so favourite) names in a whole range of categories.

Top 100 Most Popular Baby Names in 2018

These are the top 100 most popular names in 2018, in order of popularity according to Births Deaths and Marriages, a division of the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

Boy Names Girl Names
Oliver Charlotte
Jack Harper
Noah Isla
William Olivia
Hunter Ava
James Amelia
George Mia
Mason Mila
Lucas Sophie
Arlo Emily
Leo Isabella
Liam Ella
Max Lucy
Thomas Ruby
Charlie Lily
Cooper Chloe
Benjamin Zoe
Elijah Emma
Henry Grace
Joshua Aria
Lachlan Willow
Oscar Georgia
Ethan Sophia
Alexander Evelyn
Samuel Hazel
Carter Eva
Carter Eva
Jacob Scarlett
Jackson Ivy
Finn Indie
Isaac Madison
Daniel Isabelle
Theodore Alice
Luke Matilda
Harrison Mackenzie
Harry Evie
Blake Thea
Levi Zara
Archie Hannah
Eli Stella
Ryan Layla
Riley Ayla
Lincoln Sienna
Logan Paige
Luca Maddison
Austin Millie
Archer Bella
Hugo Poppy
Xavier Frankie
Theo Riley
Caleb Maia
Joseph Florence
Aiden Piper
Jordan Phoebe
Connor Abigail
Beau Eden
Ezra Freya
Michael Addison
Toby Ellie
Jayden Quinn
Hudson Olive
Nathan Sofia
Felix Violet
Harvey Lilly
Edward Sadie
Ryder Pippa
Zachary Penelope
Braxton Aurora
Flynn Jasmine
Dylan Aaliyah
Asher Peyton
Ashton Victoria
Arthur Summer
Sebastian Zoey
Jaxon Luna
Beauden Charlie
Charles Rose
Bodhi Leah
Grayson Keira
Tyler Eleanor
John Anna
Matthew Jessica
Gabriel Emilia
David Elizabeth
Patrick Harriet
Leon Molly
Kingston Heidi
Reuben Amaia
Phoenix Nina
Angus Amber
Louis Annabelle
Owen Maya
Jasper Lola
Wyatt Brooklyn
Roman Sarah
Nixon Arabella
Jake Skylar
Adam Madeline
Spencer Faith
Jesse Holly
Cohen Clara

Now you know the top 100 baby names for girls, and the top 100 baby names for boys. You might want to dig a little deeper into the meanings behind those names.

We’ve collated the 100 most popular names and where those names come from, the meanings behind each name, and also popular variations of each name you might like to consider:

Click to view the 100 most popular boy names, their origins and name meanings

Click to view the 100 most popular girl names, their origins and name meanings

If you’re of Maori heritage, and even if you’re not, you should definitely check out the most popular Maori baby names below. These names are becoming more popular every year.

Top 20 Most Popular Maori Baby Names in 2018

The names in this list are collected from registrations of births in New Zealand in the 2016 year and, for the first time, the list includes children born overseas.

Boy Names Aotearoa Boy Names Overseas Girl Names Aotearoa Girl Names Overseas
Nikau Kai Maia Maia
Ari Manaia Ariana Ariana
Kauri Ari Manaia Hei
Manaia Nikau Anahera Manaia
Te Ariki Tamati Hana Aroha
Mikaere Tane Amaia Anahera
Ihaia Ariki Aroha Hana
Rawiri Kauri Ataahua Kaea
Hemi Tai Tia Noa
Tai Tama Ria Tia
Kahurangi Hemi Tui Tiara
Kai Kaea Kaea Koa
Nikora Matiu Kara Makaia
Tangaroa Rawiri Tiare Moana
Wiremu Mana Mareikura Ahurei
Anaru Manu Miru Atawhai
Ariki Teina Kahurangi Kahukura
Paora Wiremu Marama Kai
Tama Anaru Moana Kara
Tane Hawaiki Huia Kataraina

Now that you know the most popular names in New Zealand, you should check out the following lists for more idea. We’ve got the most trendy celebrity baby names, the most popular biblical baby names, as well as a list of 50 currently trending names under 5 different categories.

10 Trendy Celebrity Baby Names in 2018

Celebrity names are always trendy, and our fav celebs always seem to come up with new and fascinating names for their kids. Over time the most popular baby names seem to trend with popular celebrity baby names.

But if you want to stay ahead of the trend curve, here’s what’s currently trending in the celebrity baby scene in 2018.

Boy Names Girl Names
Stormi Rumi
Chicago Bodhi
Hayes India
Strummer Gravity
Sonny Lia
Ennio Dream
Lio Anacã
Bear Milena

Now that you know the most popular trending celebrity baby names, you might also want to check out the top biblical baby names.

Top 10 Biblical Baby Names in 2018

Biblical baby names are the mainstay of the most popular names. The trendy names come and go with the whims of what’s currently cool. But these names, year in year out, remain very popular, and with good reason. Biblical names have wonderful meanings behind them, as well as all that history!

Boy Names Girl Names
Jacob Rachel
Ethan Julia
Noah Lydia
Michael Naomi
Daniel Sarah
Matthew Anna
Elijah Leah
James Hannah
Benjamin Chloe
Joshua Abigail

For meanings of each of these popular biblical baby names, check out for the origin and meaning of each.

50 Currently Trending Baby Names in 2018

Beyond the hundreds of names already on offer, there are a bunch of names that are currently trending higher. We’ve broken these down into 5 categories. Check out the currently trending baby names below.

Surnames Place Names Gemstones Nature Unisex
Mackenzie Paris Ruby Skylar Riley
Hunter Georgia Sapphire Star Harper
Carter India Crystal Skye Alex
Griffin Chelsea Amber Heaven Charlie
Quinn Vegas Topaz Summer Francis
Hutchin Venice Cameo Angel Piper
Maclean Chad Ebony Aqua Rae
Porter Israel Kito Ocean Taylor
Montgomery Victoria Jade Aurora Robin
Fletcher Nevada Jasper Juniper Andy

Other categories that might get you thinking include Shakespeare, animals, plants and flowers, colours, celebrity names, cars, and emotions.

If you’ve exhausted every name book and website, start reading the dictionary… or you may need to resort to “Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo……”!

Best of luck, and if you’re pregnant right now, be sure to check out all the great information in our Pregnancy section.

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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