Revealed: New Zealand's most popular baby names for 2021

A baby yawning
The most popular baby names in New Zealand have been revealed. Photo credit: Getty Images

There were a number of notable comebacks in the year of 2021: COVID-19 returned with a vengeance, plunging Auckland back into the depths of lockdown; Adele had her long-awaited revival with the release of 30; and Charlotte resumed its rank as the most popular name for baby girls.

Each year, the Registrar-General shares the most popular baby names in Aotearoa, New Zealand by gathering information from SmartStart, an initiative responsible for services associated with the birth of a child. In 2021, a staggering 99 percent of babies born in Aotearoa were registered using the online tool - which also helps to track trends in baby names.

Based on the data, revealed by the Department of Internal Affairs on Monday, Charlotte saw a resurgence in 2021 - topping the list of the most popular names for newborn girls after two years in second place. Oliver once again resumed the top spot for boys, having held the helm since 2013.

Manaia came in as the most evenly split gender-neutral name at a 50/50 split for boys and girls, with Quinn sitting just below.

Based on criteria from the Te Taura Whiri Māori Language Commission, Mia and Nikau were the most popular Māori baby names for girls and boys respectively.

Isla and Amelia came in as the second and third most popular girls' names in 2021, having fought Charlotte for the top spot for the last three years. The same trend was also seen for boys' names, with Noah and Jack taking second and third place respectively after joining Oliver in the top trinity for the previous four years.

A newcomer to the top 10 boys' names in New Zealand was Theodore, which nabbed the eighth spot after steadily creeping up the ranks since 2019.

In 2021, 56,013 newborns were registered in Aotearoa under 16,790 different first names. The data demonstrates a slow decline in births from the previous two years. A total of 17,749 different first names were given to 58,676 babies born in 2020 and in 2019, there were 18,816 different first names given to 61,018 babies.

Top 10 boys' names in New Zealand for 2021

  1. Oliver 
  2. Noah
  3. Jack
  4. Leo 
  5. George
  6. Charlie
  7. Lucas
  8. Theodore
  9. William 
  10. Luca.

Top 10 girls' names in New Zealand for 2021

  1. Charlotte
  2. Isla
  3. Amelia
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Willow
  7. Lily
  8. Isabella
  9. Mila
  10. Ella.

Top 10 Māori boys' names in New Zealand for 2021

  1. Nikau
  2. Ari
  3. Niko
  4. Koa
  5. Mateo
  6. Keanu
  7. Mikaere
  8. Manaia
  9. Kairo
  10. Kiwa.

Top 10 Māori girls' names in New Zealand for 2021

  1. Mia
  2. Aria
  3. Maia
  4. Aurora
  5. Amaia
  6. Kiara
  7. Kaia
  8. Amara
  9. Kora
  10. Maria.