Society

Hawaiian Woman With 36-Letter Last Name, Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, Fights To Keep It

| by Sylvan Lane
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A Hawaiian woman is contesting the spelling of her last name on her state identification because it unfairly truncates and distorts its meaning, according to KHON.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has always had to carry two identification cards, because Hawaii never accommodated her entire 36-letter last name and doesn’t print her first or middle name on her drivers license. So she also carries a state ID, which in used to include her full name.

But when her state ID expired in May, her new ID came back just like her driver’s license, which she claims has created several legal problems. Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele said the county told her take her maiden name or even shorten her last name. However, she refuses  to do so, citing the importance of her last name to the memory of and connection with her late husband.

“You see, to some people in the world, your name is everything. If I say my name to an elder Hawaiian (kupuna), they know everything about my husband's family going back many generations... just from the name. When the name is sliced up, changed or altered it distorts the intention and meaning that the name represents. 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,” she wrote in an email, according to Gawker.

In response to Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele's complaint, the Department of Transportation said it was working to extend its character limit to 40 "so that issue can be resolved."

Sources: KHON, Gawker