The top 20 Maori baby names for 2016 have been released in association with Te Wiki o te Reo Maori Maori Language Week 2017.

Te Tari Taiwhenua The Department of Internal Affairs released the names yesterday and included the top 20 Maori names for children born overseas for the first time.

The most popular Maori baby names last year for girls, in New Zealand and overseas, was Maia. For boys Nikau was most popular within New Zealand, and Kai topped the overseas list.

Te Taura Whiri I te reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission, carefully researched each name to confirm it was a Maori name.

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Maori Language Commission chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui said as awareness and value for te reo Maori in Aotearoa grew, more children were receiving Maori names.

"There are a number of reasons parents may give a child a Maori name. For some it may be about carrying on whanau and ancestral names and for others it may be about connecting a child with the land of its birth, Aotearoa.

"This is a positive thing and we look forward to the time when Maori names for all New
Zealanders becomes commonplace," he said.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery said it was positive to see the use of Maori names continuing to grow both within New Zealand and overseas.

"For many parents the use of a Maori name for their child symbolises their identity as a New Zealander and commitment to the Maori culture."

Registering a birth in New Zealand is free and has been made easier with SmartStart, the go-to online tool for expectant and new parents introduced last year. SmartStart has recently made a number of improvements to make it even more accessible to New Zealanders.

These included becoming the home of the new and improved Birth Registration Online and the addition of Te Reo Maori headings for SmartStart and Birth Registration Online.

"Having te reo headings will make processes simpler and easier for Maori to follow, giving a new sense of meaning to each heading and topic," Montgomery said.

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For more information on SmartStart and registering your newborn, go to
https://smartstart.services.govt.nz/
Top 20 Maori names for girls and boys