Do you want an original name for your baby? Don’t go for Aurora or Arlo

Aurora. Go on, say it: Aw-raw-rah.

It pays to put your mouth – and head – around this because when current trends emerge, it will be one of the most popular girl names in New Zealand.

Baby Name Web Bible Nameberry digged into its data to find the top five most wanted names in 25 countries for the year to date.

Future Kiwi parents really like the names Aurora and Arlo.


Future Kiwi parents really like the names Aurora and Arlo.

In New Zealand, Aurora led the harvest for girls. For boys, it’s Arlo.

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* Matilda Green on choosing Milo – one of the hottest boy names
* Luna and Milo top list of trending baby names for 2020

Nameberry’s data is interesting because it tells us which names are trending among people expecting a baby. That is, upcoming popular names are predicted.

For some countries the data as a crystal ball is less valuable than for others.

Nameberry lists names from different cultures.


Nameberry lists names from different cultures.

Nameberry users are a self-choosing group, and not all parents-to-be turn to this group for help with naming their child. While it lists names from a number of cultures – including a number of Māori names – Nameberry is in English, which explains why Teagan is the fourth most common girl name in China or Ezra is the second most common boy name in France. The population sector using the site is an Anglophone sector and is not representative of the entire country.

But New Zealand is an English-speaking country with high internet literacy and is in the top 50 countries based on the number of visitors using Nameberry. Hence, it gives us a guide on which names will be popular next.

Aurora has been on an upward trend in New Zealand for some time. It crept into the top 100 in 2014, dropped back to 101 in 2015, then rose to 83, then 74, then 56.

Last year, Aurora was the 44th most popular girl name in New Zealand, the highest ranking ever.

It’s also part of an international trend.

Aurora appears among the five most wanted names on seven of Nameberry’s lists. It’s number one in Finland, number two in the US, and number three in Australia.

Sometimes when a name becomes popular we can draw a straight line from pop culture to bassinet. For example, Luna – the most wanted girl name in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany and Japan, and number two here and in a number of other countries – received after John Legend and Chrissy Teigen chose it for her daughter in 2016.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend gave Luna a big boost when they selected it for their daughter.

Evan Agostini

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend gave Luna a big boost when they selected it for their daughter.

This is not the case with Aurora, a Latin name meaning “dawn” and perhaps best known as the name of the princess in Sleeping Beauty. But it falls within a larger global trend for girl names with long vowels and flowing Rs (see also: Aria and Freya), and shares similarities with last year’s most popular girl names, Isla, and Amelia from 2019.

Arlo now has an even stronger international correlation than Aurora. It’s the most wanted boy name in the US, Australia, Canada, France, and the UK, and appears on several other lists.

Arlo has also seen a very sharp increase in New Zealand in recent years.

It climbed 35 spots to become the 30th most popular boy name in 2016 and finished at 16 last year. It fits in with a trend for boy names that end in ‘O’ – Leo and Milo are also some of our most wanted boy names – and feels like a fresher version of Oliver, who has been number one boy name every year since 2013.

Most likely named Oliver.

Most likely named Oliver.

Neither Aurora nor Arlo have cracked New Zealand’s top 10 yet. However, due to local and international trends, this is likely to change in the near future.

So, if you are looking for an original name for your baby, then two should be avoided.

The five most wanted names in New Zealand:













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