Most popular Māori baby names in 2018

The SmartStart website from the Department of Internal Affairs has revealed the most popular Māori names chosen for babies born in New Zealand for 2018.

Most popular names in 2018

Mia, was the number one choice for girls. The most popular choice for boys was Nikau.

While Mia may not be a traditional Māori name and other names in the Top 20 appear to have links to Italian or Spanish, they can work as names in te reo too. According to, while they aren’t strictly Māori names, “they’re globally popular words which share connections with languages across the world, experts say.”

Te reo

The use of Māori names serve 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 2018

1 Mia Nikau
2 Aria Ari
3 Maia Manaia
4 Ariana Mateo
5 Nina Ihaia
6 Kaia Te Ariki
7 Anahera Mikaere
8 Amaia Manaaki
9 Manaia Kauri
10 Kora Kai
11 Anika Ariki
12 Aroha Tai
13 Ana Kahurangi
14 Amara Tamati
15 Aaria Taika
16 Hana Rawiri
17 Tia Nikora
18 Tiana Anaru
19 Tui Taimana
20 Ataahua Tama

This article is an update to the previous article, Most popular Māori baby names.


  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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