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When I first began blogging, I soon found out there was another Anna, from New Zealand, who ran Babynamelover’s Blog. Anna has been blogging since 2009, so she’s an old hand at it, and has a relaxing cool green-themed blog with lots of fun and interesting topics. Here you can find popular names in New Zealand and New Zealand name trends, as well as good data analysis and suggestions for names that could replace ones from the Top 100. There are also lists of hot and old fashioned names for boys and girls, name combinations, name lists galore, and lots of interesting birth notices from New Zealand. Anna also offers help to parents who are unsure about a particular name. For everything on NZ baby names, and lovely names in general, cross the Tasman to see the real names of New Zealand.

What is your name?

Anna Michelle Hamilton.

Have you ever wished you had a different name?

No. I really like my name; I think my parents chose well. I was born at 32 weeks and they didn’t have one picked out so began at the As [in the baby name book]!

When did you first become interested in names?

Not sure how old I was, but perhaps around 10. I was forever reading the Christchurch Weekend Press and copying out the birth notices – my dad thought I was mad and wondered what I was up to. My brother bought me three name books on Trade Me [New Zealand classifieds] for Christmas one year and that’s how my collection of baby name books began – also the inspiration to write my own book.

What inspired you to begin a name blog?

Blogging was a fairly new thing at the time, so that was something I was interested in learning how to do – and baby names are a big passion of mine.

Do you have a favourite blog entry on Babynamelover’s Blog?

I always love it when the top names for NZ are released each year and I can compare them to previous years and other countries, and share that with others. The one blog I am especially proud of though was when I announced the birth of my daughter and shared her name with the world.

How do New Zealand baby names differ from the rest of the world?

I think in general New Zealanders are quite conservative namers, and are particularly swayed by popular choices that are currently hot eg Isla, Mila and Cooper. Most seem to stay within the top 10 which is why these are so common, especially over a period of years – but there are a few surprisingly named babies which I love to hear about. I think we are swayed more by European naming trends than American ones. [Anna O: From an outsider’s perspective, what I most notice about the New Zealand birth notices from Anna’s blog are the lovely Maori names].

Do you have a pet peeve in regard to names?

Only one thing bugs me, and that’s when people add extra letters to names.

What are some of your favourite names?

I guess my style could best be described as uncommon (in New Zealand), quirky, and fun. Some of my favourites include: Astrid, Iris, Thea, Winona and Polly, along with Casper, Gideon, Octavius, Barnaby, and August.

What names do you dislike?

Car names such as Austin, Cooper and Bentley. And very common girls names such as Emily, Charlotte, Amelia, and Lucy.

Are there any names you love, but could never use?

My hubby doesn’t like Astrid or Iris, which I adore. Jethro is too close to my daughters name.

What are your favourite names in the New Zealand Top 100?

Olive (#65) and Jasper (#84).

What are your favourite names that have never been in the NZ Top 100?

Astrid and Jethro.

What is your daughter’s name?

Juno Francesca Hamilton.

If you found out you were pregnant right now, what would be the first names you would think about using?

I am pregnant! Due 27th July 2014. Baby is nicknamed Astro right now – the name will be revealed when they are born. We will consider movie names again though! [Comment from Anna O: Wow, that was unexpected! Congratulations!]

Have you and your husband ever disagreed while choosing baby names together?

My husband and I are lucky we have names we both like – I like a lot that he doesn’t, but I am glad he has a strong opinion. Our daughter’s name we both loved – I didn’t want to compromise on that.

What is something we don’t know about you?

My favourite author is John Green. His characters have the best names!

What advice would you give someone who was choosing a baby name?

Choose one you love, one that you would regret not using.

(Photo of Anna with her daughter supplied by interviewee).