G v. K, N.Z. F.L.R. 385:
Quite frequently judges in the Family Court are dismayed by the eccentricity of names which some litigants have given their children. For example, one family of children have been named after six cylinder Ford motor cars. Other parents have named their twins after a brand of cigarettes, Bensen and Hedges. Another example (identified in published newspaper reports from the Waikato) relates to a child named Passionate Love. Within this region, children have been saddled with names such as Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and, tragically, Violence.
Recently, for the first time in my experience as a Family Court Judge, the name of a child described in text language has emerged. In that case, the child was named O.crnia. Fortunately, the applicant mother was prepared to accede to a condition of a parenting order so that her child's name be changed to a more orthodox spelling, Oceania.
In this case, however, the youngest daughter of the family of these litigants has been described by the name "Talula does the Hula from Hawaii." ... However, notwithstanding the child is almost nine years of age, her birth has not been registered. I have not heard any explanation about that as yet.
Mrs MacLeod [a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the child] reports that the child, who also is known by the quite musical name of K, is so embarrassed about her given name that she has not revealed it to any of her friends. She fears being mocked and teased, and in that she has a greater level of insight than either of her parents. Mrs MacLeod, in her report, describes that the applicant mother had not given any thought at all to the implications of such a name for her daughter, when her daughter is at the stage of life of seeking to apply for a drivers licence or a passport. Neither has she given any thought to the implications for her daughter should she register for examinations, have her name published (whether for good or ill) or be stopped for routine inquiries by the police while driving. In all facets of life, a child bearing this name would be held up to ridicule and suspicion.
The Court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name for her. It makes a fool of the child, and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, quite unnecessarily.
The parents have a wide discretion as to the name they choose to bestow on their child. Some parents seek to achieve a measure of individuality and uniqueness for their child, and that of itself cannot be criticised. However, these parents have failed in exercising the first and important task of parenthood -- that of naming their child. In exercising this important responsibility parents have a duty to consider what impact will occur on their child's life as a result of its given name. It is not a time to be frivolous, or to create a hurdle for their child's future life.
The Registrar-General has only a very limited discretion to refuse registration of a name presented for a child on registration of that child's birth ...[,](8) ... if and only if, -[But, the court concludes, its inherent power allows it to assume guardianship of a child when there is a "need to protect a vulnerable child," which there is in this case. -EV]
(a) it might cause offence to a reasonable person; or
(b) it is unreasonably long; or
(c) without justification, it is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank.
To ensure that a suitable name is chosen for the child, and her birth is properly registered, I make an interim order on the application made without notice placing this child under the guardianship of the Court. I appoint Mrs MacLeod the agent of the Court to assist and oversee those processes. I envisage that she will consult with the child's natural guardians and with the child herself, but that any name selected for registration will be subject to the Court's approval. I do not expect that Mrs MacLeod's appointment will be a long lasting one, as it is directed toward repairing the damage these parents have caused by their flippant approach toward their parental duties.