Hi, my name is /

3:01 pm on 31 December 2016

Prince, Duke and Messiah might sound like a great baby name to some, but Internal Affairs does not agree.

baby name book

You won't find / in here. Internal Affairs twice rejected the forward slash as a birth name in 2016. Photo: 123RF

The department rejected 40 birth names in 2016.

They included Severe Judge, Justyce-Lee, Goddess and the abbreviation of doctor - Dr.

Two people wanted to name their child with a forward-slash symbol ( / ).

Names were refused if they resembled an official rank or title, were excessively long, used numbers or symbols, or were offensive to a reasonable person.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery said the decision to reject a name could depend on the circumstances.

Other names rejected this year included Prince, Duke and Messiah.

The parents of about 700 babies - about 1 percent of the number of babies born in New Zealand each year - had second thoughts and changed their baby's name before they become a toddler.

Mr Montgomery said there were special provisions that allowed parents to change their mind in the first two years of a child's life, with a small fee.

"Some are changing the first name of the child because they've had a change of mind, but increasingly it's people who are changing the middle names of their child," he said.

He said changes to the surname were marginally the most common reason.

First names rejected in the past included Commodore, Empress, Rogue, V8, Lucifer, Queen Victoria, Christ, Messiah and full-stop.

In 2008, the Family Court ordered a name change for a Taranaki girl whose parents called her "Talula does the Hula from Hawaii". The girl's birth had not been officially registered, and the judge ruled the name made a fool of the child and gave her a social disability by leaving her open to ridicule and suspicion.

The 2016 rejection list:

Want a new name?

People born in New Zealand are twice as likely to change their names as those born overseas.

Internal Affairs figures show about 4000 New Zealanders each year choose to change their names for reasons other than marriage.

Mr Montgomery said those changing their name must make a statutory declaration and pay a fee, and their reasons varied.

"The reasons people give for changing their names, just casually to our staff, is that they've changed their mind, their parents gave them a name that they no longer like, or they just feel like doing something different," he said.

Most overseas-born people who wanted to change their names were originally from Asian countries and wanted to adopt a more English-style name, he said.