US woman with 35-letter name wins battle against government licence office

Official computer systems across the state of Hawaii are to be upgraded in order to accommodate Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele

A woman in the US has finally achieved success in her battle to have her full name printed on official documentation.

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele – who sometimes also goes by the name “Lokelani” – said she had to fight every time a bank or government official tried to cut short or break up her name, which she adopted after marrying a Hawaiian man in 1992.

The vast majority of forms have some sort of character limitation, meaning her 35-letter, 19-syllable name often does not fit.

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said she had been able to work through the problem for every piece of documentation except for her state ID and drivers’ licence, and it was the final straw when a police officer asked why she didn’t just use her maiden name – Worth.

“This hurt my heart,” she told the BBC. “Over the last 22 years I have seen... the culture of Hawaii being trampled upon and this policeman treated my name as if it was mumbo-jumbo.”

A name is of great cultural importance in Hawaii, and to someone with knowledge of their heritage it reveals both a person’s ancestral background and a poetic characteristic. Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele says one of its meanings is “one who would stand up and get people to focus in one direction when there was chaos and confusion, and help them emerge from disorder” – though she says there are few Hawaiian elders left now who would be able to appreciate its full significance.

The Hawaii Department of Transport is currently only able to print names up to 34 characters long, meaning it cut off the final letter in Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele’s name.

But after pressure from the Honolulu television station KHON2 – which first reported the woman’s grievance – the local Department of Transport has said it will be upgrading its computer systems to be able to accommodate names of up to 40 characters by the end of 2013.

Ms Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele celebrated the decision, and said she and her late husband had always fought against anyone who tried to curtail their name.

Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele in 1992, on the day of her wedding to late husband Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele in 1992, on the day of her wedding to late husband Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?