Hawaii Truncates Woman's Crazy-Long Last Name So It Fits on IDS

A Hawaii woman says local officials are trying to get her to change her lengthy last name because it exceeds the number of characters allowed on state-issued identification cards.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was able to convince the governor's office to issue a special ID that could fit her entire surname, but when it expired earlier this year, she was right back where she started.

The problem, Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele says, is that her driver's license was printed with just an abbreviated version of her family name — her first and middle name were completely left off.

As a result, getting stopped by police becomes an even bigger hassle than it normally is.

The two-card solution worked well until she received her new ID in the mail, and, just like her driver's license, it too was missing large chunks of her name.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele phoned the county to see what could be done, but was instead advised to change her last name to make it easier on herself and everyone else.

"And I went, ‘How disrespectful of the Hawaiian people,'" Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele recalled.

Another reason Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele refuses to revert back to her maiden name is that she considers "Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele" a living link to her late husband.

In an email she sent a tool supplier a few years back, Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele explains that her last name was also her husband's whole name:

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.

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."

[screengrab via KHON2]