Skip to main content

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

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
May 1, 2013 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
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
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT