There's no Justice in baby-naming

NOT FOR BABIES: No to Justice, King, Queen, Bishop and Princess.
NOT FOR BABIES: No to Justice, King, Queen, Bishop and Princess.

What's in a name? Shakespeare famously asked it.

For the Department of Internal Affairs - which has challenged baby names including G, Eminence, and Queen Victoria - some just don't smell sweet enough.

Of the 285 names rejected between July 2001 and September last year, "Justice" was by far the most refused baby name.

Sixty people, or 63 if you include Juztice and Justus (2), have tried and failed to name their babies as if they were a High Court judge.

Eleven of these were in the past 18 months.

Also topping the list are other names easily confused with titles, such as 29 Kings, 27 Princesses, 26 Princes, nine Majors, nine Dukes, and eight Bishops.

Twenty-one parents tried and failed to name their bundle of joy Royal.

Internal Affairs births, deaths and marriages registrar-general Ross McPherson said no names were specifically banned.

But the law said names could be no more than 100 letters long, none could be offensive to a reasonable person, and each name had to abide by the dictionary definition of a name - that it was a word or a group of words.

Names that could be mistaken for a title, such as Justice or King, would be accepted only if the parents could justify it. But even a father named King, before a 1995 legislation change, would now not necessarily be able to name his son after himself.

"Sometimes it is pretty simple. ‘Anal', for example, for most people, is quite offensive."

One of the more peculiar names parents failed to register was the letter J, which had six attempts, as well as E, T, and I with two attempts apiece. The letters C, G, D and M were also declined.

The names 2nd, 3rd, and 5th were turned down but mysteriously, 1st and 4th were not attempted in the past decade.

A simple full stop (.) and a forward stroke (/) were also turned down.

Mr McPherson said he was aware of instances where people tried to register names with more than 100 letters, but then reduced them to fit in with legislation, meaning there were some New Zealanders with 99-letter names.

Being refused on the official register did not stop parents from unofficially naming their child, for example, Justice.

Mr McPherson, whose own children are named Danielle and Kieran, said his job did not help when naming his own children as those that crossed his desk were the ones that were questionable.

Of the most popular names last year, 312 Olivias made that the top girls' name, while 374 Jacks topped the boys' list.


The most commonly declined names of the past decade:

Justice: 60

King: 29

Princess: 27

Prince: 26

Royal: 21

Major: 9

Duke: 9

Bishop: 8

J: 6

Lucifer: 6

The Dominion Post