Singh trumps Smith as top NZ surname

The list was released by the Register-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages. File photo.

Singh has taken out the top spot for the most popular surname in both New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty for 2020.

The list of names was released by the Register-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages on Thursday.

Registrar-General Jeff Montgomery says the emergence of names such as Singh, Kaur and Patel reflect both immigration and religious affiliation trends.

He says most new citizens come from the United Kingdom and India, with a significant number from Sikh backgrounds where Singh is the chosen family name for boys and Kaur for girls.

Executive Director of the Office of Ethnic Communities Anusha Guler says it’s good news.

“Diversity in our communities helps make New Zealand a more culturally rich, innovative and connected place.”

The common surnames Singh, Kaur, Patel, Smith, Williams and Chen made up more than 26,549 of the 58,000 babies born last year.

Patel now makes it into the top five instead of Wilson.

The top surname, Singh, had almost 400 new registrations, Smith had 319 registrations, Kaur had 274, Patel had 204, and Williams came in last with nearly 200 new registrations.

Singh was the top surname is Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, and Hawkes Bay, while Smith remained number one in Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, West Coast, Canterbury and Otago.

The Register-General says parents are also becoming more creative with first names.

“There were more than 18,000 different first names for the 58,000 babies registered last year through SmartStart. Some parents are also getting creative with family names and choosing to hyphenate names or create completely new names.”

This is the second year the Register-General has released the list.

The most common family names registered in 2019 were Singh, Smith, Kaur, Wilson and Williams.

View the full list below:

Top surname - All New Zealand

Name / Count

Singh 398

Smith 319

Kaur 274

Patel 204

Williams 198

Brown 194

Wilson 179

Taylor 152

Thompson 148

Anderson 143

Top surname by region

Northland Smith

Auckland Singh

Bay of Plenty Singh

Waikato Smith

Gisborne Allen, Brown, Kemp, Williams

Taranaki Smith

Hawke's Bay Singh

Manawatu-Whanganui Anderson

Wellington Patel

Nelson Marshall, Taylor, Smith, Stewart, Thompson

West Coast Smith

Canterbury Smith

Otago Smith

Southland Wilson

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1 Comment


Posted on 19-02-2021 13:00 | By morepork

Sometimes when ordering food at fast food places, you will be asked your name. Usually (mainly out of mischief and a slight resentment at being required to give personal information in order to get a hamburger, I say: "Smith". (No offence to all the perfectly decent Smiths... it is not my name.) From now on I’m going to say: "Singh"... :-)

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