Monday, July 28, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 14 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Long name that won’t fit license prompts changes

The Big Isle resident pushed to add space on ID cards after an incident with police

By Audrey McAvoy / Associated Press


A Hawaii island woman’s last name is a real mouthful, containing 36 characters and 19 syllables in all. And it’s so long that she couldn’t get a driver’s license with her correct name.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is in the midst of a fight with state and local officials to ensure that her full name gets listed on a license or ID card. Her name is pronounced: KAY’-ee-hah-nah-EE’-coo-COW’-ah-KAH’-hee-HOO’-lee-heh-­eh-KAH’-how-NAH-eh-leh.

The documents have room for only 35 characters. Her name has 35 letters plus an okina, a diacritical mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet.

So Hawaii County instead issued her driver’s license and her state ID with the last letter of her name chopped off. And it omitted her first name.

The 54-year-old Hawaii island resident wrote her mayor and county councilwoman for help, but the county said the state of Hawaii computer system they used wouldn’t allow names longer than 35 characters.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele got the name when she married her Hawaiian husband in 1992.

He used only the one name, which his grandfather gave him. The name came to his grandfather in a dream that also told him he would have a grandson.

Her husband died in 2008, but he had similar problems when he was alive, she said.

The name has layers of meanings. One, she said, is “When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos.” It also references the origins of her and her husband’s family.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was compelled to bring attention to the issue after a police officer last month gave her a hard time about her driver’s license when he pulled her over for a traffic stop. She wrote Honolulu television station KHON for help, and her story started getting more attention.

“I said wait a minute, this is not my fault. This is the county’s fault that I don’t have an ID that has my name correctly,” she said.

The police officer suggested she could use her maiden name.

“I said, how disrespectful to the Hawaiian people because there’s a lot of meaning behind this name.

I’ve had this name for over 20 years. I had to grow into this name. It’s a very deep spiritual path,” she said.

Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Thursday the state is working to increase space for names on driver’s licenses and ID cards.

By the end of the year, the cards will allow 40 characters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, who practices shoreline fishing in the Hawaiian tradition as a profession, said she’s happy the publicity about her situation has prompted many people to have badly needed discussions.

“If you’re going to require people to have picture IDs to identify them, they have to be correct,” she said.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 14 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
palani wrote:
And while we're at it, let's make driver's licenses and state id's available in any language. If exams, election ballots, and street signs are to be made understandable to those speaking only the Chuukese language, then their identification cards should do the same.
on September 14,2013 | 05:29AM
Slow wrote:
Send them back where they came from. Mau Pialug taught Nainoa Thompson how to navigate so Nainoa can sail these despicable low-lifes out of here. Hey, palani, are you actually Faye Hanohano? She has racial problems too.
on September 14,2013 | 08:24AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
This is Amurika. Speak English!
on September 14,2013 | 10:14AM
allie wrote:
My Mandan middle name is long also!
on September 14,2013 | 01:06PM
Aquarius1 wrote:
It's all about al-lie. Me, me, me, me, me
on September 15,2013 | 12:33AM
silvangold wrote:
who cares about YOU ??? we talking Hawaiian people in HAWAII.............
on September 16,2013 | 10:23AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
You are rude. Very rude.
on September 16,2013 | 08:38PM
cartwright wrote:
Ask the official to put the missing "E" behind the name with a permanent marker. And initial it. Problem solved.
on September 15,2013 | 11:03AM
DABLACK wrote:
Does the tail (Drivers Lic Dept) wag the dog (citizen/tax payer) ???
on September 14,2013 | 06:51AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Interesting. Other nations have laws and regulations that compel you to conform to their name limitations. I believe Argentina requires a Spanish first name of citizens. And doesn't Japan require Koreans who have lived multiple generations in Japan to use Japanese surnames? Funny, and they don't even consider them citizens. And haven't some judges in certain U.S. jurisdictions rejected names given newborn infants that they deem objectionable?
on September 14,2013 | 07:25AM
Slow wrote:
Interesting but irrelevant. My last name is Easterling. Not Ling or Easter.
on September 14,2013 | 08:28AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
So "Slow" is your first name?
on September 14,2013 | 03:22PM
busthalfnut wrote:
Long names are so last year. Even George Washington is now more commonly known as G-dog.
on September 14,2013 | 07:34AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
How about you put your real name on the ID instead?
on September 14,2013 | 04:18PM
Latest News/Updates