How popular is the baby name Kaia in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Kaia and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Kaia.
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According to the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs and the Maori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori), the country’s most popular Maori names during the second half of 2014 and the first half of 2015 were Maia and Nikau.
Here are the top 10 Maori girl names and boy names of 2014/2015:
One confusing difference is the absence of Aria and Ariana. Were they reclassified as non-Maori? Otherwise, Aria and Ariana should have come in first and third on this list, given how popular they’ve been in New Zealand overall lately.
Also confusing is the fact that the rankings don’t refer to corresponding periods of time. The 2013 list covers April 2012 to March 2013, whereas the 2015 list covers July 2014 to June 2015.
This is the second-ever official list of popular Maori names, and it’s very different from the first list (2012). Notably, half of the girl names and nearly half of the boy names above are brand new. Two of the newbie boy names, Ari and Niko, now rank 2nd and 4th respectively.
Hi’ilei, 5, means “child (lei) held in the arms (hi’i).”
Ilihia, 5, means “excited” or “awe-stricken.”
Kawena, 5, means “the (ka) glow (wena).”
Kealani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) whiteness (kea).”
Lea, 5, is the name of a Hawaiian goddess.
Mahealani, 5, means “sixteenth day of the lunar month; night of the full moon” (source).
Nai’a, 5, means “dolphin.”
Noelani, 5, means “heavenly (lani) mist (noe).”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said Malia (ranked 21st overall) was the most popular Hawaiian name for girls in 2013, but Malia is is just the Hawaiian form of the non-Hawaiian name Mary, so I didn’t include it. I didn’t include several other names (like Keoni, Hawaiian for “John”) for the same reason.
Popular Hawaiian Names for Boys
Kai, 38 baby boys, means “sea.” Kai was the 19th most popular boy name overall in Hawaii last year.
Kainoa, 21, means “the (ka) namesake (inoa).”
Kaimana, 20, means “power (mana) of the sea (kai).”
Koa, 16, means “warrior, brave” or is a reference to the koa tree.
Nainoa, 11, means “the (na) namesakes (inoa)” — na is the article used for plural nouns.
Makoa, 10, means “fearless.”
Nakoa, 10, means “”the (ne) brave ones/koa trees (koa).”
Kana’i, 9, means “the (ka) conqueror (na’i).”
Makana, 9, means “gift.”
Ka’eo, 8, means “full of knowledge.”
Kahiau, 8, means “generous.”
Kainalu, 8, means “billowy (nalu) sea (kai).”
Keanu, 8, means “the (ke) coolness (anu).”
Noa, 8, means “commoner/free man.”
Kaleo, 7, means “the (ka) sound/voice (leo).”
Kamaha’o, 6, means “wondrous.”
Kanoa, 6, means “the (ka) commoner/free man (noa).”
Kekoa, 6, means “the (ke) brave one/koa tree (koa).”
La’akea, 6, means “sacred (la’a) white/light (kea).”
Makai, 6, means “toward (ma) the sea (kai).”
Mana, 6, means “supernatural or divine power.”
Alaka’i, 5, means “leader.”
Kaiea, 5, means “rising (ea) sea/tide (kai).”
Ka’imipono, 5, means “the (ka) seeker of righteousness (‘imi pono).”
Kalani, 5, means “the (ka) heavenly one/royal one (lani).”
Kamakani, 5, means “the (ka) wind (makani).”
Koamalu, 5, means “brave (koa) peace (malu).”
While I was gathering all those definitions, I also found a bunch of other interesting Hawaiian names, such as…
‘Aukai, “seafarer” (‘au, “travel” + kai, “sea”). It’s like the Hawaiian version of Sailor.
Kapi’ioho, “curly hair.” It’s like the Hawaiian version of Crispin (Latin crispus, “curly”).
‘Opunui, “big-bellied” (‘opu, “belly” + nui, “big”). Big bellies were a status symbol in old Hawaii. According to one source, “the elite lived lavishly, were feasting constantly, and the highest chiefs were distinguished by their corpulence.”
Leiko is a hybrid Hawaiian-Japanese name: lei, “flowers/child” + ko, “child.”
Do you have a favorite Hawaiian name? Leave a comment and tell me about it!
Source: Bodley, John H. Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System. Lanham, MD: AltaMira-Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.
A conversation with commenter elbowin a couple of weeks ago prompted me to do a bit of research on Maori names. And what did I stumble upon while doing that research? An official list of the top Maori baby names of 2012:
14. Te Ariki
16. Te Koha
The list was created using data from the Births, Deaths and Marriages registry of NZ’s Department of Internal Affairs. How?
The results are for the first name given to nineteen thousand Maori babies (by descent) registered in 2012. The analysis found that Maori girls are more likely to be given Maori names.
So, they tallied up and ranked all the Maori names given to babies of Maori descent. (In case you’re wondering, 61,178 babies were born in New Zealand in 2012 and 33% of these babies were of Maori descent.)
I do wish the press release had included some raw numbers, or at least mentioned what percentage of Maori babies got Maori names in 2012. Because, without this information, there’s no way to know what sort of influence (if any) Maori babies getting Maori names had on the overall 2012 list.
For instance, the top two Maori girl names, Maia and Aria — which aren’t exclusively Maori in origin — ranked 30th and 38th nation-wide. Would they have ranked as well if they hadn’t been so popular among the Maori specifically?
Anyway…it’s a cool list, regardless. Thanks, elbowin, for all the thoughtful comments. :)