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Boy Nikau, girl Mia popular choices

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Mia and Nikau were the most popular Maori names for babies last year, both overseas and in Aotearoa.

Nikau has topped the list for Maori boy’s names for several years, while Mia is a new entry.

Charlotte and Oliver remain New Zealand’s most popular baby names, retaining their top spots in 2018.

Jack and Isla were ranked second most popular, followed by Noah and Olivia.

A total of 13,668 different first names were given to 59,302 babies in 2018.

The full list of top baby names is available on SmartStart, an online tool for new parents.

Jeff Montgomery, the Registrar-General Births, Deaths and Marriages, says SmartStart is a free, fast, and efficient way to register a child, obtain an IRD number, and even adjust a Ministry of Social Development benefit.

Parents can also apply for the weekly BestStart payment at the same time as registering their baby.

The top Maori baby names were calculated and researched in partnership with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission.

Commission principal advisor Colin Feslier says Maori names have significant cultural and spiritual meaning, as they are often given to reinforce memories of past events, family members, or in reference to the qualities hoped for in the child.

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

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

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