New Zealand's most popular Māori baby names

Last updated 08:09 15/09/2017

Te Tari Taiwhenua - The Department of Internal Affairs - has released the top 20 Māori baby names for 2016. (file photo)

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Maia and Nikau were the most popular Māori baby names for children born in Aotearoa in 2016.

Maia was most popular for kōtiro (girls) and Nikau for tama (boys). The top three for kōtiro were rounded out with Ariana, then Manaia. 

For tama, Ari came in second and Kauri third.


Te Tari Taiwhenua, The Department of Internal Affairs, released the names in association with Te Wiki o te reo Māori 2017 - Māori Language Week.

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It also published the top 20 Māori names for babies born overseas. The only change for kōtiro was Hei instead of Manaia at third. For tama, it was Kai, Manaia and Ari.

Ngahiwi Apanui, chief executive of the Māori Language Commission, said as awareness and value for te reo Māori increased, more children were given Māori names.

"There are a number of reasons parents may give a child a Māori name.

"For some it may be about carrying on whānau and ancestral names and for others it may be about connecting a child with the land of its birth, Aotearoa.

"This is a positive thing and we look forward to the time when Māori names for all New Zealanders becomes commonplace."

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, said:  "For many parents the use of a Māori name for their child symbolises their identity as a New Zealander and commitment to the Māori culture."

It was the first time the top 20 Māori baby names for children born overseas ad been included in the list.

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