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Baby names – boy and girl – the top 100 New Zealand names, top Maori names and other names,  as well as things to consider when choosing baby names.

Are you searching for ideas for baby names? Below, check out a list of International favourites and a list of NZ favourites.

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

Choosing a name for your baby is not something parents often 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.

Uniqueness

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 often result.

Tradition

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 Jaman 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 you may want to think again. Jazmin will be called Jasmine, Jhorgia will be called Georgia, and Leigham will still be called Liam. If however you are choosing 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

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.

Click to view BOY Names, Name Origins & Meanings

Click to view GIRL Names, Name Origins & 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 favourite baby names?

Traditional names are making a definite come-back in New Zealand.  Look at the latest releases from Births Deaths & Marriages NZ:  Charlotte, Emily, Ruby, Sophie, Olivia, Isla, Amelia, Ava, Isabella and Ella for girls and for boys Oliver, Jack, James, William, Mason, Liam, Samuel, Lucas, Noah and Thomas all make the respective TOP 10.

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 20 Maori Names*

Boys Girls
1 Nikau
2 Ari
3 Wiremu
4 Niko
5 Tamati
6 Hemi
7 Nikora
8 Te Ariki
9 Rawiri
10 Tane
11 Mikaere
12 Manaia
13 Kahu
14 Tangaroa
15 Kauri
16 Ariki
17 Manaaki
18 Tama
19 Ihaia
20 Matiu

1 Aria
2 Maia
3 Ariana
4 Anahera
5 Anika
6 Aroha
7 Kora
8 Tia
9 Kaia
10 Ana
11 Ria
12 Tiare
13 Mereana
14 Nia
15 Tui
16 Wikitoria
17 Hinewai
18 Mahi
19 Terina
20 Mareikura

  

* The figures were collected from registrations of birth in New Zealand in the 2012-2013 financial year and did not include children born overseas.

Top 100 Popular Names

In recent order of popularity according to Births Deaths & Marriages,  a division of the Department of Internal Affairs.

Boys Girls

Oliver

Jack

James

William

Mason

Liam

Samuel

Lucas

Noah

Thomas

Hunter

Ethan

Jacob

Benjamin

Daniel

Max

Joshua

Ryan

Cooper

Blake

Lachlan

Charlie

Levi

Leo

Elijah

Jackson

Jayden

Alexander

Braxton

Riley

Luke

Isaac

Tyler

Oscar

George

Henry

Nathan

Caleb

Eli

Harry

Carter

Joseph

Connor

Harrison

Finn

Toby

Jaxon

Flynn

Logan

Dylan

Xavier

Jake

Matthew

Luca

Alex

Zachary

Archie

Sebastian

Charles

John

Austin

Cameron

Louis

Ryder

Michael

David

Hugo

Fletcher

Edward

Lincoln

Adam

Jordan

Felix

Jesse

Andrew

Ashton

Aiden

Maxwell

Joel

Patrick

Beau

Sam

Phoenix

Declan

Arlo

Kingston

Theodore

Jonathan

Aaron

Marcus

Angus

Aidan

Isaiah

Roman

Archer

Christian

Gabriel

Vincent

Tyson

Dominic

Charlotte

Emily

Ruby

Sophie

Olivia

Isla

Amelia

Ava

Isabella

Ella

Chloe

Grace

Mia

Lily

Emma

Sophia

Lucy

Mila

Harper

Zoe

Georgia

Paige

Hannah

Aria

Jessica

Eva

Madison

Maia

Scarlett

Eden

Bella

Zara

Willow

Mackenzie

Sienna

Summer

Maddison

Elizabeth

Ivy

Poppy

Hazel

Abigail

Alexis

Pippa

Isabelle

Samantha

Violet

Holly

Lilly

Leah

Sofia

Indie

Olive

Jasmine

Alice

Aaliyah

Stella

Layla

Molly

Addison

Caitlin

Anna

Annabelle

Peyton

Piper

Brooklyn

Rose

Ayla

Evelyn

Nevaeh

Natalie

Victoria

Nina

Ellie

Sarah

Alyssa

Charlie

Phoebe

Lola

Keira

Kate

Alexandra

Isabel

Amber

Jade

Hayley

Taylor

Brooke

Florence

Millie

Imogen

Esther

Aurora

Madeleine

Matilda

Claire

Faith

Mikayla

Kayla

Indi

Biblical Suggestions

Boys Girls

Thomas

Ezra

Elisha

Noah

Caleb

Micah

Bartholomew

Gideon

Jaman

Jonah

 

Rebekah

Jael

Lydia

Tamara

Azaria

Kezia

Mahlah

Phoebe

Sela

Naomi

 

Other Popular Baby Names

Surnames Place Names Gemstones Nature Unisex

McKenzie

Hunter

Carter

Griffin

Quinn

Hutchin

McLean

Porter

Montgomery

Fletcher

Paris

Sydney

India

Venice

Chelsea

Vegas

Chad

Israel

Roma

Nevada

 

Ruby

Sapphire

Topaz

Amber

Cameo

Jasper

Kito

Crystal

Ebony

Jade

 

Leaf

Star

Skye

Heaven

Angel

Flame

Aqua

Ocean

Clover

Sage

Alex

Andy

Ashley

Darcy

Francis

Glenn

Piper

Rae

Robin

Taylor

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……”!biblical NZ meaning meanings origin middle choosing nicknames 

Useful Websites

There are several other good name sites on the internet, so if you don’t find anything you like here, check out:

www.babynames.com

Popular website, includes extensive search engine, meanings and origins.

www.babynamesworld.com

 

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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