Mia, Nikau, Nina - Māori words or Māori names?

updated By Mahina Hurkmans

The most popular baby names for 2019 have been released with Mia and Nikau being the most popular Māori names. 

But there is still confusion over whether such names are acknowledged as Māori given names.

In the official list for 2019, the most popular Māori names have been released with some names staying on for another year such as Mia, Aria, Nikau and Manaia.

But names were also added to the list such as Taika and Aroha and this could be linked to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern naming her baby Neve Te Aroha.

Even though in the past some Māori language experts like Tāwhirimātea Williams, have said Mia isn't a Māori 'name' instead saying it's a Māori 'word' it still sits atop the list of Māori names.

Interestingly, the top five Māori names for 2019 are all female names.  

Young Mia-Aroha Hurrell, whose hyphenated name features twice in the list, represents a mother's love for her child with an Italian flair.

"I named her that because Mia is Italian for my and Aroha is love and she is my love," says mum Tui Kaumoana.

2019's Top 10 Māori Girls' Names

  • Mia
  • Aria
  • Maia
  • Amaia
  • Nina
  • Manaia
  • Kaia
  • Aroha
  • Tui
  • Ataahua

2019's Top 10 Māori Boys' Names:

  • Nikau
  • MIkaere
  • Ari
  • Manaia
  • Mateo
  • Te Ariki
  • Taika
  • Ariki
  • Kauri
  • Rawiri

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