NZ’s most popular baby names in 2018

What did you call you baby?

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 Maori 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 Jeff.

"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 Maori boy’s name, having topped the list for the last few years, while Mia is a new entry.

The top Maori baby names were calculated and researched in partnership with the Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission. Colin Feslier, Principal Advisor at the Commission, says Maori names have significant cultural and spiritual meaning.

"In Maori 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," says Colin.

"Non-Maori who bestow Maori names can do so to recognise and reinforce the links between all who live in New Zealand through te reo Maori, a language for us all."

Jeff agrees, saying that the increased popularity of Maori 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 Maori culture," he says.

For the full list of most popular baby names, and for more information on registering your baby, visit


1 Comment


Posted on 11-01-2019 15:16 | By Hugh Janis

To claim the name Mia as Maori is ignorant, and also disrespectful to the uniqueness of Maori culture. A number of the names on the Maori list are transliterations of common names or Italian/Spanish names.

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