Popular baby names in the French Pacific, 2023

Flag of French Polynesia
Flag of French Polynesia

Today we’ve got baby name rankings for two French overseas territories: French Polynesia and New Caledonia.

Both are island groups located in the Pacific Ocean, but they’re not neighbors: French Polynesia is in the southern Pacific, while New Caledonia is roughly 2,900 miles away in the southwestern Pacific (closer to Australia).

French Polynesia

French Polynesia is made up of about 130 islands. The majority of the population lives on the largest island, Tahiti.

French is the official language of the territory, though other languages (primarily Tahitian) are also spoken.

According to data gathered from three different medical clinics on Tahiti — data accounting for 3,145 births in 2023 — these were the top baby names on the island last year:

Girl names (on Tahiti)

  1. Kiana
  2. Ohana
  3. Merahi

Boy names (on Tahiti)

  1. Manea
  2. Hia’ai
  3. Kahanui

Other popular names included Hanihei, Kumuhei, Hitiarii, Kaili and Nanihi. (I’m not sure which genders they correspond to.)

The shortest names bestowed were Eva and Joa, while the longest were Onoheaiteraioehau (given to a baby girl) and Teahimenavaoatitoka (baby boy).

New Caledonia

New Caledonia is made up of about 140 islands. The majority of the population lives on the largest island, Grande Terre, which locals call Le Caillou, meaning “the pebble.”

French is the official language of the territory, but various Kanak languages are also spoken.

Last year, Nouméa — the territory’s capital and largest city — welcomed 499 baby girls and 563 baby boys. These were the top baby names in Nouméa in 2023:

Girl names (in Nouméa)

  1. Zoé
  2. Léna
  3. Eva
  4. Maya
  5. Olivia

Boy names (in Nouméa)

  1. Gabriel
  2. Samuel
  3. Emmanuel
  4. Joseph
  5. Kayden

New Caledonia’s rankings have a distinctly European flavor — no doubt because New Caledonia’s population includes a larger proportion of Europeans (and people of European descent) than French Polynesia’s does.


Image: Adapted from Flag of French Polynesia (public domain)

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