Asian names rising in most common New Zealand newborn listings

Asian names rising in most common New Zealand newborn listings

WELLINGTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand babies were born under a record number of ethnically Asian surnames last year, the Department of Internal Affairs announced Thursday.

While the European names Smith, Wilson and Williams were the most common family names among newborns nationwide, Singh was seventh and Wang eighth, overtaking names like Anderson and Thompson.

Other popular names included Li (10th) and Lee (13th), Chen ( 14th), Patel (15th) and Zhang (16th).

In New Zealand's most populous city, Auckland, the top 10 names were overwhelmingly Asian, being in order: Wang, Li, Chen, Liu, Smith, Zhang, Lee, Patel, Huang and Singh.

This compared with the more British sounding family names in the capital, Wellington: Smith, Williams, Patel, Brown, Jones, Taylor, Wilson, Robinson, Johnson and Anderson.

The department issued the lists the same day that the government statistics agency, Statistics New Zealand, issued 2013 Census figures showing New Zealand's population was growing at its fastest rate in more than a decade, driven by a surge in the number of ethnic Asian people and increases in Maori and Pacific Island population.

The country's population grew by 67,800, or 1.5 percent, in the year to the end of June, with a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 29,500 and net immigration of 38,300 to an estimated 4. 51 million, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Between 2006 and 2013, the majority "European and other" ethnic category rose by 3 percent, while the Asian ethnic population rose by 34 percent.

The indigenous Maori population was up 11 percent to 692,300 and the Pacific ethnic population increased 14 percent to 344,400.