The Māori (indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) language has some beautiful and unusual baby names (for even more baby name inspiration, check out our list of 1,144 brilliant ones), with very interesting meanings.
Some names are fairly commonly used all over the world. Did you know that girls’ names Tia, Maia and Kaia are all Māori names?
So, whether you’re from New Zealand, want to pay tribute to your heritage, or are perhaps are looking for a unique name with a particular meaning, there’s plenty here to be inspired by.
Here are just 30 beautiful Maori baby names and their original meanings, separated into lists for girls and boys…
Amiria – the Māori version of Amelia, meaning ‘industrious’
Anahera – ‘angel’ in Māori. Possible nicknames include Ana, and Hera (the goddess of women in Greek mythology)
Aria – this name has lots of meaning in many different languages. In Italian, it means ‘air’ or ‘solo melody’ – it’s what you’d call an opera performance
Arona – means colourful
Hana – means ‘to shine, glow or radiate’. Can also be an alternate spelling of the name Hannah
Iraia – of Greek origin, as it was once a town in Greece
Iwa – has Māori, French, Polish and Greek origins. In Polish, it means ‘eve’. Can be pronounced ‘ee-wa’ or ‘ee-va’
Kaia – a popular Māori name, which actually means ‘to steal or thieve’. In Greek, it means ‘from the earth’. Most famously used by supermodel Cindy Crawford, whose daughter is named Kaia
Kiri – means ‘skin of a tree or fruit’ Kora – of Greek origin, meaning ‘maiden’
Maia – ‘brave warrior’, the name of a goddess in both Greek and Roman mythology, and the inspiration behind the month of May. Can also be spelled as Maya. Most famously used by poet Maya Angelou, radio DJ Maya Jama and Bridesmaids actress Maya Rudolph
Marama – ‘moon’ in Māori
Nyree – of Māori origin, meaning ‘sea’ or ‘flaxen’ Pania – a symbol of the NZ city of Napier, and a ‘beautiful maiden’ in Māori mythology
Rui – to sow or shake down. In French, it’s meaning is ‘regal’
Amiri – a traditional Māori name meaning ‘the east wind’, which could also be shortened to Amir, which has different meanings in both Hebrew (treetop) and Arabic (princely)
Kamaka – of Hawaiian descent, meaning ‘eye’
Koraka – of Māori origin, meaning ‘a south island chief’
Maaka – a Māori variation of Mark, can also mean god of war
Manaia – a design commonly used in Māori carvings, which means guardian. Works for boys and girls
Matiu – meaning ‘gift of God’
Mikaere – the Māori name for Michael
Niko – thought to be a version of the name Nicholas
Rawiri – means ‘beloved’ or ‘adored one’
Rongo – means ‘peace’
Rua – meaning ‘lake’ in Māori. Also means ‘dreams’, ‘visions’ in Arabic, where it would typically be used as a girl’s name
Ruru – named after New Zealand’s native owl
Tane – means ‘man’, and also represents the god of forest and light in Polynesian mythology.
Images: Instagram / Pure New Zealand