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Baby name boundaries revealed

23 January 2019

The Department of Internal Affairs has published a list of 44 different names which it declined to register during 2018.

While most of the names were submitted once, several parents tried to register King (6 times), Royal (6), Prince (4), Royalty (3) and Saint (3).

The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery, says guidance on naming a child can be found on the department's SmartStart website.

This states that attempts to register certain names will not be accepted if the name is offensive, or it is unreasonably long - it should be less than 70 characters long, including spaces - or it includes or resembles an official title or rank, or it is spelt with a combination of numbers or symbols.

The guidance states that a name can use macrons (eg, Hūmārire), hyphens (eg, Mary-ann), umlauts (eg, Zoë), and some international characters.

A child may be given one name where religious, philosophical, or cultural beliefs and traditions require it. Parents who wish to do this must give a reason.

The department says during 2018 there were over 18,000 unique first names registered for children. The top names this year were Oliver and Charlotte, with Nikau and Mia taking out the top spots for Māori names. 

It says of the nearly 60,000 babies born in New Zealand each year, less than 1% of babies have their name personally considered by the Registrar-General.

The most common first names for practising New Zealand lawyers in mid-2018 were Sarah for women and David for men.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019