Most popular Māori baby names

Te Tari Taiwhenua (The Department of Internal Affairs) have revealed the most popular Māori names chosen for babies born in New Zealand for 2016.

Maia, meaning brave warrior was the number one choice for girls. The most popular choice for boys was Nikau (a native palm).

Ariana, Manaia, Anahera and Hana make up the top five most chosen names for girls. For the boys, the top five includes Ari, Kauri, Manaia, Te Ariki.

The use of Māori names serves as an important way to link with whakapapa (genealogy) and family history. They are also an acknowledgement of te reo Māori as an official language of New Zealand.

The name chosen may represent an elder or family member or a place that is special to the whanau. Some names, like Hahona and Rāhera , are Māori versions of English names (Jason and Rachel).

Top 20 Māori baby names for 2016

Rank Kōtiro (Girls) Tama (Boys)
1 Maia Nikau
2 Ariana Ari
3 Manaia Kauri
4 Anahera Manaia
5 Hana Te Ariki
6 Amaia Mikaere
7 Aroha Ihaia
8 Ataahua Rawiri
9 Tia Hemi
10 Ria Tai
11 Tui Kahurangi
12 Kaea Kai
13 Kara Nikora
14 Tiare Tangaroa
15 Mareikura Wiremu
16 Miru Anaru
17 Kahurangi Ariki
18 Marama Paora
19 Moana Tama
20 Huia Tane


  1. Shelz69 28/02/2018 at 10:23 am

    I love Moana as a name. So beautiful

  2. kymmage 26/02/2018 at 11:54 am

    I really like Nikau as a name. Growing up, I knew an Ari, and an Aroha. It’s great to have a list of these to consider as it was not so easy sourcing them back when I was looking for names for our baby list.

  3. Bevik1971 14/02/2018 at 4:30 pm

    I love some of the Maori names – our daughter is Maori (her Dad is, I’m not) and we thought about a Maori name for her but ended up with Peyton for first name and 2 middles names both after grandparents 🙂

  4. SarahBlair 13/02/2018 at 1:43 pm

    There are some lovely names here! My middle name is Piri, im pretty sure that its a boys name but my parents gave it to me as I was the first person in my family to be born in New Zealand

  5. MuddledUpMolly 12/02/2018 at 1:36 pm

    It’s great to see a list of Maori names for children, this is the first time I’ve seen one like this! Some very lovely names 🙂

  6. Jen_Wiig 09/02/2018 at 2:40 pm

    I live the name Manaia but wouldn’t of thought it was just a girls name. Interesting. A dear friend of mine has recently had her 5rh girl and her name is Honour TE ĀTAAHUA meaning Honour the Love 😍 so so georgous. Māori names to me sound so exotic and georgous and embassies our native culture of NZ.

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