Selecting a name for your child can be difficult. Of course, if there are two parents involved, you’ll need to pick a name that’s agreeable to both of you. But beyond that, there are other things to consider. Will the name sound too “trendy” ten years down the road? Will it result in an undesirable nickname? Will your child’s name affect the respect that he or she receives as an adult? Do you want to carry on a family name? Most parents think very carefully before making this important decision.
Some parents, however, seem to take this task less seriously. Fortunately, the New Zealand courts have stepped in when parents’ brains have stepped out. One divorcing couple temporarily lost custody of their 9-year-old daughter until she was renamed. It seems that their child, Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii, was so embarrassed by her name that she refused to give it to her friends, insisting instead that they call her simply “K.” Justice Robert Murfitt ruled that the name “makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap.”
But Talula’s parents aren’t the only ones who have saddled their poor child with a horrible name. Other names given to children in New Zealand include Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay and Violence. There’s even a set of twins named Benson and Hedges. Fortunately, the registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages refused to accept the names Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, and Stallion. Names that are more than 100 characters, include punctuation or numbers, or are considered offensive “to a reasonable person” are also rejected.
The baby-naming game is big business now. Some parents even hire baby-naming consultants to help them select names that are somewhat unique but not in poor taste. Perhaps some day we’ll go back to giving our kids names like John and Mary and Thomas and Jill. But, until that day comes, the courts may need to decide if we’ve chosen our child’s name wisely.
names, babies, parenting, New Zealand, naming