New Zealand newborns’ surnames might surprise

Few might guess at the 10 most common surnames given to New Zealand’s newborn’s last year.

Our diversity is reflected in these 10 names, according to the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery.

The most common surname across New Zealand last year was Singh, with just under 400 babies registered under that name.

That’s about 400 of the over 58,000 babies born last year.

Singh’s led the way for a while now. But where the most common surnames registered in 2019 were Singh, Smith, Kaur, Wilson and Williams, Patel now makes it into the top five instead of Wilson.

There was some regional variation with Patel being the most common family name in Wellington, and Singh in Auckland and Bay of Plenty, while Smith took out top spot in Canterbury, Otago, West Coast and Southland.

Montgomery says the emergence of names such as Singh, Kaur and Patel reflected both immigration and religious affiliation trends.

In addition, he notes some new family names were hyphenated while other parents chose to “create completely new ones.”

Anusha Guler, executive director of the Office of Ethnic Communities points out the diversity reflected in the list.

“The list of the most common surnames for 2020 is yet another indication of Aotearoa New Zealand’s thriving diversity.”

“This is good news, as diversity in our communities helps make New Zealand a more culturally rich, innovative and connected place.”

Most common family names in New Zealand:

Singh — 398

Smith — 319

Kaur — 274

Patel — 204

Williams — 198

Brown — 194

Wilson — 179

Taylor — 152

Thompson — 148

Anderson — 143

Most common surname by region:

• Northland – Smith

• Auckland – Singh

• Bay of Plenty – Singh

• Waikato – Smith

• Gisborne – Allen, Brown, Kemp, Williams

• Taranaki – Smith

• Hawke’s Bay – Singh

• Manawatu-Whanganui – Anderson

• Wellington – Patel

• Nelson – Marshall, Taylor, Smith, Stewart, Thompson

• West Coast – Smith

• Canterbury – Smith

• Otago – Smith

• Southland – Wilson


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