Top baby names of 2017

For the fifth year in a row, Oliver is the most popular name chosen for newborn baby boys in New Zealand. In 2017, 314 Kiwi families chose the name which, according to Kidspot’s Baby Name Finder, is related to the olive tree and can mean a symbol of peace. The girls have a new leader, with 277 babies named Charlotte – no doubt growing in popularity due to the Royal Family’s adorable Princess Charlotte. Over 13,000 different names were chosen for newborn babies in New Zealand in 2017.

Most popular names in 2017

While parents are choosing a wider range of names for their children than in the past, a lot of names still remain popular, year after year. Statistics released by the Department of Internal Affairs show that the most popular boys’ names in 2017 were Oliver, Jack, Noah, William, Hunter, James, George, Mason, Lucas and Arlo. George and Arlo are the only newcomers to the top 10.

For girls, the most popular were Charlotte, Harper, Isla, Olivia, Ava, Amelia, Mia, Mila, Sophie and Emily. Mila is the only new entrant to the top 10.

Want to know what the most popular names were in the year your baby was born (or even yourself)? Pop over to the SmartStart website to go right back to 1954.

Most popular names for mum and dad

OK, there’s no real science involved here – more like a bit of curious guesswork! Currently the average age of a mother when their first baby is born is about 30 years old. The average for a father is around 32 years. So looking back to 1987 and 1985, the time when today’s new parents were born, we can see what the most popular names were. Apart from James, it doesn’t look like these new parents are passing on their own names to their offspring.

Most popular baby girl names in 1987:

  1. Sarah
  2. Jessica
  3. Emma
  4. Amanda
  5. Nicole

Most popular baby boy names in 1985:

  1. Daniel
  2. Michael
  3. James
  4. Matthew
  5. Christopher

A century of baby names

Way back in 1915, the most popular names for baby boys were John, William and James – two of which are still popular today. On the other hand, popular choices for girls a century ago – Mary, Margaret and Dorothy – are rarely heard now.

In 1965, just over half a century ago, the most popular names were Karen, Susan and Sandra for girls and David, Michael and Paul for boys.


Century of baby names

New Zealand’s 100 most popular baby names in 2017

Rank Boys Girls
1 Oliver Charlotte
2 Jack Harper
3 Noah Isla
4 William Olivia
5 Hunter Ava
6 James Amelia
7 George Mia
8 Mason Mila
9 Lucas Sophie
10 Arlo Emily
11 Leo Isabella
12 Liam Ella
13 Max Lucy
14 Thomas Ruby
15 Charlie Lily
16 Cooper Chloe
17 Benjamin Zoe
18 Elijah Emma
19 Henry Grace
20 Joshua Aria
21 Lachlan Willow
22 Oscar Georgia
23 Ethan Sophia
24 Alexander Evelyn
25 Samuel Hazel
26 Carter Eva
27 Jacob Scarlett
28 Jackson Ivy
29 Finn Indie
30 Isaac Madison
31 Daniel Isabelle
32 Theodore Alice
33 Luke Matilda
34 Harrison Mackenzie
35 Harry Evie
36 Blake Thea
37 Levi Zara
38 Archie Hannah
39 Eli Stella
40 Ryan Layla
41 Riley Ayla
42 Lincoln Sienna
43 Logan Paige
44 Luca Maddison
45 Austin Millie
46 Archer Bella
47 Hugo Poppy
48 Xavier Frankie
49 Theo Riley
50 Caleb Maia
51 Joseph Florence
52 Aiden Piper
53 Jordan Phoebe
54 Connor Abigail
55 Beau Eden
56 Ezra Freya
57 Michael Addison
58 Toby Ellie
59 Jayden Quinn
60 Hudson Olive
61 Nathan Sofia
62 Felix Violet
63 Harvey Lilly
64 Edward Sadie
65 Ryder Pippa
66 Zachary Penelope
67 Braxton Aurora
68 Flynn Jasmine
69 Dylan Aaliyah
70 Asher Peyton
71 Ashton Victoria
72 Arthur Summer
73 Sebastian Zoey
74 Jaxon Luna
75 Beauden Charlie
76 Charles Rose
77 Bodhi Leah
78 Grayson Keira
79 Tyler Eleanor
80 John Anna
81 Matthew Jessica
82 Gabriel Emilia
83 David Elizabeth
84 Patrick Harriet
85 Leon Molly
86 Kingston Heidi
87 Reuben Amaia
88 Phoenix Nina
89 Angus Amber
90 Louis Annabelle
91 Owen Maya
92 Jasper Lola
93 Wyatt Brooklyn
94 Roman Sarah
95 Nixon Arabella
96 Jake Skylar
97 Adam Madeline
98 Spencer Faith
99 Jesse Holly
100 Cohen Clara


  1. gillymama 08/03/2018 at 11:39 am

    We were just having this discussion about names the other day with the kids after I found a baby name book in a box. ( we are getting a kitten soon so its a hot topic with this naming business!!) We only used the book to look up meanings not get ideas as we had firmly chosen our first 2 names well before they were born. My boys are in the top 100 but not my daughter.

  2. danielle2211 28/02/2018 at 8:53 pm

    All the names on the lists are really lovely, when naming my kids I wanted to stay away from those top 10 as I didn’t want my kids to have the same name as several other kids in their class. Was surprised to see my daughters name Faith on the list but it was 98th. A friend and I have the same name we grew up together known each other since we were 3 and we used to get our surname initial tagged on to our name.

  3. Shelz69 28/02/2018 at 11:27 am

    I have one child on the popular list and one that is not. Choosing a name can be hard. I think the name I have chosen for my daughter doesn’t suit her personality, its weird I know but if I could do it again I would change her name.

  4. kymmage 26/02/2018 at 11:05 am

    I really like the name Arlo, it’s cute. But I see it a lot now, so I guess a few people agree. I try not to pick from popular lists at all. My approach with names was to get the top 1000 names and just veto all of those. If names on my list were on the top 1000 they were out. I like historical names, ancient Greek or Roman, or those that sound like it. The meaning is really important to me too. It’s fun to see the trends though. I remember there was one other Kim in my school when I was little but different spelling (I haven’t got the I) but so many -elle/el names (Rochelle, Michelle, Rachel, Racquel)

  5. Bevik1971 14/02/2018 at 4:29 pm

    I don’t really care much about if names are “in” or not – my 24 year old son is Matthew and we named our 5 year old daughter Peyton. I like both of them doesn’t matter if they are traditional or fashionable 🙂

  6. SarahBlair 13/02/2018 at 1:33 pm

    Out of my 6 kids names there is one on the list, but I don’t think that Eden was as popular 16 years ago when I had mine as it is now! I also have a Jorja and the traditional spelling is on the list. My name is on the parents list and the top 100 baby names list.

  7. MuddledUpMolly 12/02/2018 at 1:35 pm

    Our little girl is #2 on the list which is surprising! Hopefully she doesn’t start school with a whole bunch of other Harper’s 😛

  8. felicity beets 11/02/2018 at 10:57 am

    so many awesome names to choose from, i really love the names that can be surnames as well.

  9. Alezandra 09/02/2018 at 3:44 pm

    Cool and extensive list. We are trying for baby number 2 and hopefully we ca go back and see which names would suit. Not much on Z names though as this is a letter that we are looking into as an initial.

  10. Jen_Wiig 09/02/2018 at 2:08 pm

    I love(D) the name Arlo and each time we found out we were having a boy it was on the list but due to its ever growing popularity that’s what stopped us naming any of our 3 boys Arlo. However for the first time ever one of my boys names features on a popular list though towards the end which I will admit I’m kinda glad about as their originality had always helped esp at school… They ate the only ones in each of their schools with their names but with that comes mis said as there’s been prior kids with similar names eg:Roman gets Ronan alot and Silas gets Cyris… Mykah on other hand gets surprised looked when they see he’s a boy not a girl hehee. Hubby and I will always make a list of names we like and then go giggling to see if the name has ever been on a popular list and when so we can try stay abit unique and lessen the chances of having heaps of kids similar age with same name, it’s worked everytime so far at least… My current fav name if we did decide to try again is Jett both for a boy or girl

  11. Mands1980 08/02/2018 at 8:04 pm

    These names lists are cool I think all three of my kids names are always in the top 100 names with my daughter’s still being in the top 10 it hasn’t changed much since they were born over the years. It’s funny how over the years as we see here the older names then the names like our parents then us, then of course our kids.

  12. Kjgee 08/02/2018 at 9:41 am

    I love seeing these name lists! 2 out of 4 of my kids names are on last years top 100 list. All our kids are named with more “traditional “ names and had the most popularity a long time ago but are coming back into “fashion” again now. I really wanted biblical names for my kids so they aren’t unique names but suit my kids all extremely well!

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