New Zealand Name Report

New Zealand native Anna Hamilton parses the recently released Kiwi name statistics and analyzes what’s up and down, in and out, including such surprise (to us) hits as Aria, Ayla, Anahera, Manaia, and Sione..


Looking first at the boys: The big news here is that after a five-year reign, Jack was topped by Liam, Jack’s reign lasting one year less than his predecessor Joshua.  Liam, who placed seventh in 2009 (and also 2008) jumped up to the top, followed at second place by James, who has been in the Top 10 for the last eleven year, and at third is Oliver, who joined the Top 5 in 2009. Jack slips down to spot four, while William remains steady at five; Joshua and Samuel lose, but still stay within the Top 10.  Leaving the Top 10 are Thomas and Daniel, who fall to 11th and 16th respectively.  Taking their places are Jacob, jumping seven spots to 8th, and Lucas up one to get the last spot.

The biggest rises amongst the boys in 2010 were: Mason (Number 32), with a mighty leap of 22 spots, Brooklyn (#79), up 20, Ryder (#67) up 19 along with Edward (now #72) and then Quinn, bounding 16 places to Number 63, and Zachary (#49) up 14.

The biggest drops were nicknames Sam (#77) and Ben (#99), down 21 and 19 respectively.  Sebastian (#87) and Joel (#81) followed suit, down 16 each. Felix dropped down more than a dozen places–fifteen in fact– to number 98, just hanging in on the Top 100.  Gabriel (#95), Aidan (#76) and Jesse (#60) all fell 14 spots, with the traditionally spelled Aidan seven spots under the variation Aiden.

Leaving the Top 100 were: Jamie, Hamish, Callum, Hayden, Cole, Zion, Andrew, Roman, Troy, Austin, Tristan, Christopher and Hugo.

Either entering or reentering the Top 100 were: Eli (new), Aaron (previously there from 1999 to 2008), Marcus (2002 and 2008), Archie (2008), Dominic (2000-2008), Patrick (1999-2007), Taylor (1999-2003 and 2005-2007), Fletcher (new), Robert (1999-2008), Sione (2000), Lewis (1999 and 2001), Leon (new) and Maxwell (new).


On the girls’ side, Sophie reclaimed her spot at the top for the third year running, beating out Olivia at second place and Ruby at third.  Charlotte jumps up four spots to Number 4, her highest placing since she was the winner in 2006. Isabella is knocked back one to fifth place, whilst Lily goes up two to Number 6, Ella is in seventh, dropping two places from her 2009 standing.  Knocked out of the Top 10 is Amelia, whose short stay lasted only one year, whilst Chloe stepped up to take her place gaining three spots to Number 8.  Emily takes Number 9, leaving just enough room for Emma, who has featured in the Top 10 since 1999.

If you’re wanting to steer clear of a fast-moving girl’s name, don’t choose one starting with A–six out of the nine top risers began with the first letter of the alphabet! Annabelle jumped an amazing 42 places to reach Number 51, while Scarlett also made an impressive leap of 29 to sit at Number 43. Ayla moved from the bottom to rest comfortably at 77, a rise of 23. Not far behind were Ashley, up 20 and Alexis, up 19.  Summer followed suit jumping 18 to Number 54, Aria moved up 16, Riley gained 14 and Abigail skipped a dozen plus one.

Imogen, after diving into the bottom of 2009, plummeted 44 places to 56th. Caitlin (#62) is finally on the way down, losing 23 places, as is her sister Kate dropping 15 to rest at Number 53, though Katie is holding at Number 54. Amy and Anna fell 22 and 18 places, but still sit just within the top 70. Tessa lost 16 places and joins Matilda on a downward turn.

Leaving the top 100 are: Bailey, Brooklyn, Abby, Lauren, Alexandra, Anahera, Manaia, Madeline & Madeleine, Violet, Maria and Ariana.

Returning are: Victoria (1999-2005, 2007-2008), Danielle (1999-2008), Harmony (2003-2008), Maya (2003-2008) and Lucia (2008). And making their debuts this year: Olive (#81), Willow (#83), Mila (#84), Layla (#87), Pippa (#95), Payton (#96) and Ivy (#99).

Here is the link to the NZ government statistics:

Anna, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been a name fan from a very young age, accumulating a collection of more than eighty name books.  You can check out her blog at:

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10 Responses to “New Zealand Name Report”

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Guest blog « Babynamelover's Blog Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 2:26 am

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Lauren Kay Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 5:15 am

Feeling slightly put out that my name has been kicked out of the top 100… Thanks for this blog! I read the top 10 lists but it’s always cool to be able to read how things have changed. Glad Sebastian’s going down!

British American Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 10:36 am

Interesting to see names like Felix, Imogen, Violet, Matilda, Callum and Hugo falling down the charts in NZ, when I’d guess that US parents would ‘worry’ about them rising in popularity here.

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January 10th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

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Boston Girl Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

That’s interesting…I have two pen pals in New Zealand, one in Timaru and the other in an Auckland suburb. My Timaru friend named her daughter Teryll. Is that an unusual name in New Zealand?

JacobandAmy Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for this! I recently relocated in NZ with my husband and I’m interested in the naming trends here. I notice a good mix of classic and creative names 🙂

Lauren Kay Says:

January 10th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

@Boston Girl,
I’m from NZ and I’ve only ever encountered one girl called Teryll! It’s not common and not considered to be the classiest name…No offense to your friend 🙂

Holly Says:

January 11th, 2011 at 12:08 am

I’m a kiwi too. I am really surprised at how popular my name seems to be. It was about #20 when I was born over 20 years ago so I wonder if its been hovering at that level for my entire life (which would also be a surprise as I’ve only met around 3 or 4 others with my name). I work in a call centre and have received comments such as “oh you have a very old fashioned name” or that it is an “old lady name”, but there are quite a few young Hollys according to official records.

Another thing that struck me is the similarity of New Zealand’s lists with names that seem to be popular overseas, and also that the popular names are those most likely to be found on white, middle to upper class babies whose parents are probably in their mid-30s, university educated, and own their own home. Other groups such as young parents (a great source of “made-up” names), and the various non-white ethnic groups in NZ, aren’t really represented in the top 100. Anahera is the Maori transliteration of the English word/name Angel, and it is pronounced ah-nah-heh-rah, with a rolled r, in case anyone wondered.

I’m also really liking the downward slide of Jack, since it may be more usable by the time I’m ready for sprogs of my own!

Elle Says:

January 11th, 2011 at 2:03 am

My cousin and her husband live in New Zealand. They have a daughter named Annika.

Jenna Says:

May 13th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Living in New Zealand, I cannot even begin to tell you how many little Sophie’s and Ruby’s we know of. Not that many Olivia’s though, which is surprising looking at the stats. Amelia was actually very high on our list for our first born, after her grandmother, but we are SO glad we used it in the middle spot; there are 2 other Amelia’s in her year group alone(of around 20)! We certainly don’t know a single other Pearl, Celeste or Alec though.

I also agree with Holly, about how ethnicity affects names. Of the 3 Anahera’s we know of, all of them are from non-white back grounds (I’ve always thought Anahera was quite pretty, though). Also, of the 5 Emma’s we know, 4 four of them are from middle-class white families.

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