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Hawaii: Woman slams officials over name shortening

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele's driving licence shows just her surname - and shortened. Picture: KHON2

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele's driving licence shows just her surname - and shortened. Picture: KHON2

  • by RHIANNON EDWARD
 

A HAWAIIAN woman has branded state officials ‘disrespectful’ after they asked her to shorten her name on official documents.

Janice Lokelani Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was given a driving licence missing the last letter of her name, and did not include her first or middle names.

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele told Honolulu-based KHON2 television station that asking her to shorten her name was ‘disrespectful to the Hawaiian people’ adding ‘the county has never accomodated my name on my driver’s licence.’

Although once in possession of a state identification card that carried her full name, Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele’s name wasa recently shortened when she renewed the ID card. She claims that the change to her name made it difficult for her to travel, and led to complications during a police traffic stop.

She said: “The police officer looked at it and he goes, ‘Well, where is your first name?’ And I said, ‘Don’t blame me. This is your department.’”

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele revealed that she had even been asked to revert to using her maiden name to simplify things, but said she wanted to retain her full name as a tribute to her late husband.

In an email sent a number of years ago, she revealed that changing her name would affect the meaning and intention of the name, adding: “If I say my name to an elder Hawaiian, they know everything about my husband’s family going back many generations, just from the name. Unfortunately, many people have been shamed into hiding their real names because they don’t fit in with the dominant culture’s lack of respect for the name.”

Following pressure from KHON2, the local department of transportation confirmed it would try and accommodate Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele’s full name.

A source said: “We have been made aware of that issue and I know right now they are working to extend that limit to, I believe, 40 characters so that issue can be resolved.”

 

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