Skip to main content

No, you can't call your baby Lucifer: New Zealand releases list of banned names

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
Our little bundle of joy. We're going to name you Mafia No Fear.
Our little bundle of joy. We're going to name you Mafia No Fear.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New Zealand has an agency that signs off on baby names
  • Some names that have been vetoed are Mafia No Fear and Messiah
  • New Zealand is not the only country to edit names
  • Sweden also has a naming law and has nixed Superman as a baby name

Editor's note: Do you or your child have an unusual name? Tell us in the comments below.

(CNN) -- Lucifer cannot be born in New Zealand.

And there's no place for Christ or a Messiah either.

In New Zealand, parents have to run by the government any name they want to bestow on their baby.

And each year, there's a bevy of unusual ones too bizarre to pass the taste test.

The country's Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages shared that growing list with CNN on Wednesday.

Four words:

What were they thinking?

In the past 12 years, the agency had to turn down not one, not two, but six sets of parents who wanted to name their child "Lucifer."

Also shot down were parents who wanted to grace their child with the name "Messiah." That happened twice.

"Christ," too, was rejected.

Specific rules

As the agency put it, acceptable names must not cause offense to a reasonable person, not be unreasonably long and should not resemble an official title and rank.

It's no surprise then that the names nixed most often since 2001 are "Justice" (62 times) and "King" (31 times).

Some of the other entries scored points in the creativity department -- but clearly didn't take into account the lifetime of pain they'd bring.

"Mafia No Fear." "4Real." "Anal."

Oh, come on!

Then there were the parents who preferred brevity through punctuation. The ones who picked '"*" (the asterisk) or '"."(period).

Slipping through

Still, some quirky names do make it through.

In 2008, the country made made international news when the naming agency allowed a set of twins to be named '

"Benson" and "Hedges" -- a popular cigarette brand -- and OK'd the names "Violence" and "Number 16 Bus Shelter."

Asked about those examples, Michael Mead of the Internal Affairs Department (under which the agency falls) said, "All names registered with the Department since 1995 have conformed to these rules."

And what happens when parents don't conform?

Four years ago, a 9-year-old girl was taken away from her parents by the state so that her name could be changed from "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii."

Not alone

To be sure, New Zealand is not the only country to act as editor for some parent's wacky ideas.

Sweden also has a naming law and has nixed attempts to name children "Superman," "Metallica," and the oh-so-easy-to-pronounce "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116."

In 2009, the Dominican Republic contemplated banning unusual names after a host of parents began naming their children after cars or fruit.

In the United States, however, naming fights have centered on adults.

In 2008, a judge allowed an Illinois school bus driver to legally change his first name to "In God" and his last name to "We Trust."

But the same year, an appeals court in New Mexico ruled against a man -- named Variable -- who wanted to change his name to "F--- Censorship!"

Here is a list of some the names banned in New Zealand since 2001 -- and how many times they came up

Justice:62

King:31

Princess:28

Prince:27

Royal:25

Duke:10

Major:9

Bishop:9

Majesty:7

J:6

Lucifer:6

using brackets around middle names:4

Knight:4

Lady:3

using back slash between names:8

Judge:3

Royale:2

Messiah:2

T:2

I:2

Queen:2

II:2

Sir:2

III:2

Jr:2

E:2

V:2

Justus:2

Master:2

Constable:1

Queen Victoria:1

Regal:1

Emperor:1

Christ:1

Juztice:1

3rd:1

C J :1

G:1

Roman numerals III:1

General:1

Saint:1

Lord:1

. (full stop):1

89:1

Eminence:1

M:1

VI:1

Mafia No Fear:1

2nd:1

Majesti:1

Rogue:1

4real:1

* (star symbol):1

5th:1

S P:1

C:1

Sargent:1

Honour:1

D:1

Minister:1

MJ:1

Chief:1

Mr:1

V8:1

President:1

MC:1

Anal:1

A.J:1

Baron:1

L B:1

H-Q:1

Queen V:1

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT