Kiwi Style

23 Māori Names For The Baby Who Fills You With Aroha, AKA “Love”

For your little tama (son) or tamāhine (daughter).

Written by Brianne Hogan
Updated: 
Originally Published: 
Giving your baby a Maori name is a beautiful way to honor the culture.
nazar_ab/E+/Getty Images

What do the names Maya and Keanu have in common? Not only are they gorgeous names (and, um, hello, Keanu Reeves and Maya Rudolph!), but they stem from the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand known as the Māori. Maybe you have a Kiwi relative you're fond of and would love to honor by naming your newborn after them. If so, choosing a Māori name for your new baby could be a lovely tribute to your Kiwi ancestry, heritage, and culture.

Or perhaps you're just struck by the elegant and beautiful-sounding Māori names and their fascinating meanings. In the Māori culture before the 1800s, surnames were not used — any remarkable event or circumstances surrounding a birth typically inspired a child's name. In some cases, parenting traditions dictated that children would be re-named over time as new events transpired in their lives. How unique and interesting is that?

If you're looking for a name for your newborn that will help them stand out from the crowd, a Māori name is definitely a good option. Not only will your kid not have to worry about five other kids answering when their name gets called in class, but Māori names are also just a fantastic way to foster links with an enchanting culture.

01

Aihe

Are you someone who loves the sea and everything in it? Maybe you’ll pass that on to your child, in which case this girl’s name would be perfect. In the Māori language, Aihe means “dolphin.”

02

Amiria

This elegant name is the Māori version of Amelia. It means "hard worker" and "industrious," which is a good omen for your little one. Who knows? She could be the next Oprah!

03

Ari

This cute name for your baby boy is a variation of Ariel, meaning the lion of God — a perfect balance of strength and grace.

04

Arona

This pretty Māori name means "colorful," so you can be sure your little girl will make your world pop in a brilliant way.

05

Atama

Sometimes you can tell from the day a child is born that they’re an old soul. Atama would be a fitting name for such a newborn, as it means “soul of a person” and “expressive.”

06

Etera

If you're looking for a name that means service for your baby boy, you might want to choose this name that means "help" and "aid."

07

Hana

An alternate spelling of Hannah, this pretty name means "to shine, glow or radiate." And, c'mon, that's how you probably feel whenever you look into your baby girl's eyes, right?

08

Hauku

A cute name that means "dew" or "fresh dew," Hauku would be perfect for your baby girl's arrival in the springtime.

09

Hunu

This sweet unisex means "sun" or "sun ray," clearly making it the best name for your new bundle of sunshine.

10

Ihaka

Looking for a little happy-go-lucky comedian? You might want to choose this unique name for your baby boy. It means "he will laugh."

11

Kahukura

Are you fascinated with the magic and beauty of rainbows? If so, this lovely name meaning, yes, "rainbow," is an excellent choice for you.

12

Kamaka

Meaning “rock,” this gender-neutral name feels strong. You could also go several directions with a nickname, from “Kama” to “Maka” to just “KK.”

13

Kai

This mighty name for a baby boy means "fire," "the sea," and "the keeper of the keys," so you can be sure your little man will be a steady mixture of fire and flow.

14

Kaia

This gorgeous name for your little girl means "the sea" and "to steal or thieve." That tracks since your baby has obviously stolen your heart. Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford's daughter) has also made this name famous.

15

Mahuika

Have you spent your entire pregnancy joking your daughter must be feisty judging by her tiny belly jabs? Maybe she deserves a spirited name like Mahuika — the Māori goddess of fire.

16

Maia

Meaning "brave warrior" after the goddess in both Greek and Roman mythology, this name feels destined for a gentle-but-strong little girl. It can also be spelled Maya, like Maya Rudolph and Maya Angelou.

17

Matiu

Your bundle of joy is a gift from God, which is precisely what this short-and-sweet name for little boys means.

18

Marama

If you're intrigued by the moon and lunar cycles, you'll probably want to consider this charming name for your baby girl. Its meaning? "Moon."

19

Niko

This nickname-y name is a hip alternative to Nick or Nicholas. It means "victory of the people," so you've definitely got a winner on your hands with this one.

20

Nyree

Meaning "beautiful maiden" in Māori mythology, Nyree would make a lovely and unique name for any baby girl.

21

Rangi

Look up. What do you see? A big blue sky that seems to stretch on forever? Rangi means sky, or god of the sky, capturing how powerful and all-encompassing your love for your son is.

22

Rui

This sweet moniker means "regal" and is sure to give your little girl some Meghan Markle "Duchess of Sussex" vibes.

23

Ruru

It's official — Māori names are the coolest. The adorable name Ruru comes from New Zealand's native owl. In other words, your baby boy is sure to be a hoot!

Considering Māori names when choosing a name for your baby can be a meaningful way to pay tribute to this Kiwi culture.

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