Like Charming Antique Baby Names? You'll Love New Zealand

Oct 11th 2018

Imagine a land where names like Harriet, Evie, Pippa, Angus and Arlo roam. Sound like your kind of place? Then take a trip with me to the names of New Zealand.

The South Pacific nation boasts a dramatic landscape and one of the world's best-educated populations. Its official languages are English and Maori, and its naming style reflects a history of immigration from England, Scotland and Ireland. You'll find echoes of fashions far and near, such as Scottish names like Lachlan and Flynn that are also common in Australia, and free-spirited modern names like Bodhi and Indie that are popular in the U.S Northwest. Then there are the only-in-New-Zealand specials, including Maori names like Amaia ("halo") and Beauden, an homage to "All Blacks" rugby star Beauden Barrett.

Image: Huber

The dominant style, though, is a quirky throwback charm. Storybook antiques like Matilda, Oliver and Poppy rule.

If you're a global name-watcher that may remind you of English name style, but Kiwis put their own spin on it. Their formal favorites lean toward the offbeat, with lots of unusual letters: more Xaviers and Hazels, fewer Alberts and Marthas than in England. And while storybook-cute names are popular in both countries, New Zealanders particularly favor energetic choices like Ruby and Indie, as opposed to mellower diminutives like Elsie and Freddie. The overall effect is old-fashioned but lively. (For a global match, the styles of U.S. states Colorado and Oregon come close.)

See for yourself. Each of the names below ranks among New Zealand's top 100, and is significantly more popular there than in the United States.

Alice Angus
Amaia Archer
Charlie Archie
Eden Arlo
Eva Arthur
Evelyn Beau
Evie Bodhi
Florence                          Charlie
Frankie Felix
Freya Finn
Georgia Flynn
Harriet George
Hazel Harry
Heidi Harvey
Holly Hugo
Indie Jack
Isla Jasper
Ivy Lachlan
Lola Leo
Lucy Leon
Maia Louis
Matilda Max
Millie Oliver
Nina Oscar
Olive Phoenix
Phoebe Reuben
Pippa Theo
Poppy Theodore
Rose Toby
Ruby Xavier




October 11, 2018 1:44 PM

There are all sorts of names on this list that I have yet to encounter on children where I live; however, the top 10 is amazingly similar to what I see happening locally! If someone were to show me the top 10 list*, I would assume that it was from somewhere in North America because it's lacking the nickname style popular in England. Actually, from the girl and boy top 10, Arlo is the single indicator that something is afoot. 

(*Top 100 names in New Zealand from 2017, top Maori names from 2016, and the top 100 names since 1954 can all be accessed here.)

October 12, 2018 12:11 AM

Hey, I like these! And I’m happy to see Harvey on the boys list, I’ve liked that name very much and was sad to see it get such negative associations with the storm and the nefarious (it was mentioned on this blog amounting to as much). I hope it gets renewed appeal for its merits. I’d say five of these for boys and five girls here is what made up our short list for our little family. :) 

October 27, 2018 4:20 PM

I'm not really sure it makes sense to include something like Evelyn, which is #9 in the US, on the same list as Harriet, unranked in the US since 1970.

December 21, 2018 8:13 AM

I love the name Phoebe, there are two reasons for it. One is that i love my niece and her name is Phoebe and she is my sunshine. The other reason is well, i like the Phoebe character from the serial friends.

By fgf3
May 15, 2019 1:55 AM

I love the name Josh, there are two reasons for it. One is that i love my niece and her name is Josh and she is my sunshine. 



July 18, 2019 6:36 PM

Very interesting, I wish those names were more common. For example in Panama Visa I see a lot of names like Carolina, Erika, all of them ending in a.

August 27, 2019 4:11 PM

I came across a rather unusual name the other day that i had never heard used in that contenxt.  Its a word that's related to educationa nd learning too, so has some very positive conitation

October 30, 2019 11:42 PM

Beautiful names.

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November 11, 2019 11:44 AM

That's so suitable. It's cool 

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