What Name?

What to name your baby? One of the many decisions parents have to make. A teacher once told me she found it hard to name her children because she didn’t want to use any of the names of children who she had taught who had been, in polite words, ‘hard to teach’.

Names distinguish us from one another and in some cultures can serve other purposes as well, such as the Chinese generation name which identifies the generation of the bearer, or the names used by some African cultures which describe the order in which siblings were born.

How to Choose

When choosing a name you may wish to use a family name, or one you like the sound of. As a parent you are going to have to say that name a lot of times. Say it 10 times fast in your head and then think are you still happy with it. Think can other children make fun of it when your child is at school, and that happens. The meaning behind the name is also interesting to find out.

There are a lot of books or web sites which will give you the meaning or history of names. Google “baby names” and a lot of sites will come up.

Sources of Inspiration

You may consider a name from someone famous or something different than what anyone else may commonly use, Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Chris Martin, the frontman of the band Coldplay, named their daughter Apple.

You can look at http://www.bdm.govt.nz/ to find the top 100 male and female names since 2004, based on births registered in New Zealand during each year.

The list of the most popular baby names registered last year has been released by the Department of Internal Affairs’ office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Jack is still the most popular boy’s name for the fourth year in a row, while Sophie is the number one girl’s name for 2008 year’s top choice.

Girls top 30

Sophie, Olivia, Ella, Isabella, Charlotte, Lily, Emma, Emily, Jessica, Grace, Hannah, Chloe, Ruby, Lucy, Ava, Amelia, Madison, Maia, Mia, Holly, Sophia, Zoe, Paige, Georgia, Kate, Brooke, Maddison, Samantha, Sienna, Isla

Boys top 30

Jack, James, William, Samuel, Joshua, Riley, Liam, Oliver, Benjamin, Daniel, Thomas, Jacob, Ethan, Jayden, Noah, Ryan, Lucas, Luke, Max, Hunter, Matthew, Lachlan, Alexander, Dylan, Connor, Blake, Tyler, Caleb, Charlie, George

Information from Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Registering a Birth and Your Child’s Name

By law, both parents of a child born in New Zealand must notify Births, Deaths and Marriages, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the birth (deemed by the Registrar-General as generally being within two months of the birth). Once registered and on payment of the fee, a birth certificate is available. Birth registration is free.

How to Register

A ‘Notification of Birth for Registration’ form is generally provided to the parent(s) shortly after the birth. If you have not received a form directly after the birth of your child, or you have any difficulty completing the form you have been given contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Birth Certificates

If you would like a birth certificate for your child you can request one when you send the registration form, or at any time after the birth has been registered. If you would like to order the certificate with the registration, please complete the order section of the registration form, and include the certificate fee. You can get pictorial (picture with forest or beach) or standard birth certificates see the web site for information about these. http://www.bdm.govt.nz/

Contact Centre

Freephone: 0800 22 52 52 (New Zealand only)
Phone: (+64 4) 474 8150
Email: bdm.nz@dia.govt.nz
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00am – 7:00pm, Friday 9:00am – 7:00pm, Saturday 9:00am – 2:00pm


Want to watch a fun take on choosing baby names? Check out the video below (note: video not supplied or endorsed by Helen Pulford).

About the Author

Article by Helen Pulford (Midwife and Childbirth Educator) owner of:

www.babywebnz.org directory for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting web sites and www.birthresources.org childbirth education resources.

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