The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Rogue and Royall names fail to Empress in 2019

8 January 2020

Hot on the heels of the most popular baby names for 2019, the Department of Internal Affairs has released the list of names that were declined by the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Topping the list are honorifics such as King, Lady, Princess and Empress.

Registrar-General Jeff Montgomery explains that under New Zealand law, parents are free to be creative when naming their baby.

“While there are no ‘banned’ names in New Zealand, there are certain boundaries in place. The guidelines make sure the names don’t cause offence, are a reasonable length and don’t unjustifiably resemble an official title or rank.

“There's no problem if you want to give your child a spelled-out number or even silly name, but remember your child has to live with it.”

Of the 61,018 babies born in New Zealand in 2019, fewer than 1% of babies had their name personally considered by the Registrar-General.

Tips for ensuring you can register your baby’s name

Avoid official titles, numerals or anything unpronounceable, like a backslash or a punctuation mark.

Rethink swear words.

Limit the name to no more than 70 characters.

Register the baby’s birth using the Smart Start website, an online tool providing a range of services for new babies and their parents. It’s the quickest and easiest way to register a birth.

What to do if you want to challenge the Registrar-General’s decision

If a name fails to meet the criteria, it can be reviewed by the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

The family then has an opportunity to present their reasons for the name, and these may be accepted by the Registrar-General on a case-by-case basis.

Oliver and Amelia most popular in 2019

Last year, there were over 18,000 unique first names registered for children. The top names are Oliver and Amelia, with Nikau and Mia taking out the top spots for Mâori names.

For the full list of most popular baby names and to find out more about registering the birth of a baby, head to

Declined baby names for 2019

Crown Prince

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Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs
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