Most popular Māori baby names for 2021

By Marena Mane

The most popular Māori baby names for 2021 were revealed by Te Tari Taiwhenua (Department of Internal Affairs) yesterday.

Manaia comes in as the most evenly-split gender-neutral name, at a 50/50 split for boys and girls.

Mia for kōtiro (girls) and Nikau for tama (boys) are at the top of the lists for Māori baby names, according to Te Taura Whiri, Māori Language Commission.

Top 10 – Māori names

Every year, the Registrar-General compiles data from SmartStart to publish the most popular baby names.

In 2021, the online tool for new parents was used to register 99 percent of newborns born in Aotearoa.

“SmartStart makes it easy for parents to find out all the things that need to be done when a baby is born, starting with registering the birth”, says Registrar-General Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery.

“Registering your newborn makes sure they have an official identity from birth, so they can access their legal rights as they grow up,” he says.

The site, which is accessible from any device at any time, also explains how parents may obtain an IRD number for their child, how to amend a Ministry of Social Development benefit, and how to apply for the $60 weekly BestStart payment. This method of registering your child is free, quick, and easy. It also aids in the tracking of baby name trends.

A total of 56,013 births were recorded in Aotearoa in 2021, with 16,790 distinct first names. This indicates a gradual decrease in births over the last two years.

This is one way Te Tari Taiwhenua can build a sense of belonging and collective memory to develop an inclusive Aotearoa is by tracking baby name data.