People often ask expectant parents, ‘What are you going to name your baby?’ Our names are important to us. They help form our identity, and we carry them through life.
How are names chosen?
In the Whakatipu booklet Te Kākano on page 32, there’s a brief piece about naming baby. It says that in the traditional Māori world the whānau members held the right to name the child.
In some families there are very strong ‘family names’ that get repeated through the generations. In others it’s up to the parents.
However the decision is made, there’s usually a story that goes with the name. Talking about names is also a nice way to have a conversation with mum and dad about baby, and how they’re thinking about it.
Here are a few questions to help start a conversation with the whānau
- Have you thought about what you’re going to name your baby?
If they’ve already chosen a name, you could ask:
- Do you want to tell me about the name you’ve chosen?
- How did you come by the name?
- Who was involved?
- What’s the story behind the name?
If they haven’t yet chosen a name, you could ask:
- Would you like to talk about it?
- What are your thoughts about it?
- What do you want to consider?
- Who’ll be involved in the decisions?
- Are there any special things your family does when naming babies?
- How will you go about it?
- Do you know where your name comes from?
- Is there a story behind it?
- Does your family have any special ceremonies or practices about naming babies?
- Would you like to have a naming ceremony?
- What kind?
- What will you be able to tell your baby about their name later on?
How does this topic relate to the SKIP resources?
Baby Wall Frieze – Kōrero mai mō tō tātou whānau - Teach me about my family then I know I'm not alone
Six things children need - Te ārahi me te māramatanga - guidance and understanding - We talk to whānau about our way of doing things.