New Zealand Names Off the List
The Registrar-General denies the notion that certain names are illegal in New Zealand, however, the government determines whether or not names are eligible for registration. Unlike in countries such as Iceland, there are no illegal names that are outright banned in New Zealand. Instead, the Registrar-General reviews each name in question and allows the family to state their case before making a final ruling.
“While there are no ‘banned’ names in New Zealand, there are certain boundaries in place. The guidelines make sure the names don’t cause offense, are a reasonable length, and don’t unjustifiably resemble an official title or rank.”
Title Names and Honorifics
Royal title names make up the majority of declined baby names in New Zealand. Even alternate spellings, such as Majesti and Sur, were rejected by the Registrar-General. In recent years, names such as Bishop, Chief, Duke, Emperor, Goddess, Judge, Messiah, President, and Sovereign have been up for debate, and all were eventually declined.
So you may not be able to name your child Lord or Lady in New Zealand, but this royal class of baby names is rising in popularity in the States. Justice, King, Kyng, Major, Prince, Princess, Royal, and Saint all rank in the US Top 1000, along with other exalted choices such as Queen and Deacon.
Many international celebrities have used names that would not meet New Zealand’s standards, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z with their son Sir, Kourtney Kardashian, who named her son Reign, and Kim Kardashian and Kayne West with their son Saint (we have to wonder—would any of their kids’ names pass inspections?).
Along with official title names, swear words, numerals, and unpronounceable characters (including slashes, punctuation, and some diacritical marks) will flag a baby’s name for follow up with the Registrar-General in New Zealand.
The US does not have national naming laws. States can impose their own restrictions, with some choosing to set limits on character count, pictograms, or diacritical marks. But when it comes to official titles and honorifics, the sky’s the limit. When the government has tried to restrict choice, the decisions have largely been rejected. Such was the case in 2013, when a Tennessee judge ruled that a baby could not be named Messiah. Her ruling was overturned, and the baby boy was allowed to keep his name.
What do you think of these declined baby names? Do you agree that these names should have been rejected?