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 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 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 1312 GMT (2112 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 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 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