Revealed: New Zealand's most popular baby names for 2022

Baby wearing a crown
Photo credit: Getty Images

The most popular baby names across Aotearoa in 2022 have been revealed, with Oliver retaining the top spot as Kiwis' favourite forename for a bouncing baby boy.

Each year, the Registrar-General, Jeff Montgomery, shares the most popular baby names in New Zealand. This information is gathered from SmartStart, an initiative that provides new and expectant Kiwi parents with step-by-step information and support to help them access the right services for them and their baby. The online tool also helps to track trends in baby names annually.

After being beaten by Charlotte and dropping to second place in 2021, Isla was back in the number one slot as the most popular name for newborn girls in 2022, having remained in the top three since 2016. 

Oliver continues to cling to the crown as the most common name for a boy, having held the number one position since 2013, marking 10 years in a row. Alternatively, the most popular gender-neutral name for 2022 was Riley. 

According to the Department of Internal Affairs, a total of 18,041 different first names were given to 59,711 babies that were registered in Aotearoa last year. Comparatively, 56,013 births were registered in 2021, with a total of 16,790 different forenames.

But there have been some changes in the lineup. Isabella and Ella, which were ranked eighth and 10th in 2021, have been axed in favour of Harper and Sophie, which took out the 9th and 10th spots respectively. 

Hudson is also new to the top 10 names for baby boys in Aotearoa, coming in at ninth place. Hudson has bumped out Lucas, which was the seventh most popular name in 2021.

This year, the most popular Māori names across the motu will be released around the time of Matariki to commemorate the occasion.

Registering your baby in New Zealand is an important first step in ensuring that your baby has an official identity, allowing them to access their legal rights as they grow up, Montgomery said in a statement on Monday. 

"During a time that can be overwhelming and of financial stress, the last thing new parents want to be doing is filling out a raft of forms. SmartStart is a free, fast and easy way to register your child," he said. 

Through SmartStart, new parents can apply to receive the Best Start payments. They are also able to apply for an IRD number for their baby and add them to their Ministry of Social Development benefit.

According to Te Tari Taiwhenua, the Department of Internal Affairs, tracking data on baby names each year is a way in which it works to foster a sense of belonging and collective memory that builds an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.

Top 10 girls' names for 2022

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

Top 10 boys' names for 2022

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

See the top 10 most popular baby names for 2021 here