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From the Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii Decision:

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, -
(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.
[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]

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.

FlimFlamSam:

However, these parents have failed in exercising the first and important task of parenthood -- that of naming their child.


Hahahaha, this is the judicial equivalent of "I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
7.31.2008 7:46pm
LM (mail):

Bensen and Hedges

ROTFL
7.31.2008 7:55pm
spider:
What about Indian parents in America who name their kid Hardik? (not a joke - look on google - it's a common name) That name might "cause offense to a reasonable person", or it certainly might "make a fool of the child".
7.31.2008 8:10pm
Apodaca:
Eugene, I respect the blogger's privilege to write about whatever damn thing he or she is interested in at the moment.

That said, isn't the VC, especially given its self-proclaimed scholarly impact, just a little bit embarrassed at having said nary a word about Judge Bates's opinion today on the Congressional subpoenas to Miers and Bolten? For those of us who read the VC in the expectation of gaining deeper insight into difficult and timely legal issues, your collective silence on this important interbranch dispute's resolution is beyond puzzling.
7.31.2008 8:15pm
John Jenkins (mail):
@ Apodaca,

You're talking about a 93 page legal opinion that no responsible commentator could have read and digested yet. You may be used to TV lawyers and other assorted idiots popping off without the benefit of thinking, but that's not how scholars do things. To the extent that case is really in anyone's wheelhouse here (does any VC regular really do much work in the area of privileges or executive power generally), that person will probably blog about it. While I am consciously breaking the same rule here, I don't see why it makes sense to make a completely OT topic to raise your misplaced, ill-advised displeasure. There are, after all, email links to the right.
7.31.2008 8:27pm
Ry Jones (mail) (www):
I have kids I never registered with the state. No need to slap them with the number of the beast.
7.31.2008 8:29pm
Smokey:
Worth reposting: click
7.31.2008 8:32pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Yes, we all think that parents ought to have good judgment. If you ever figure a way to enforce that, without a massive invasion of civil liberties, let us know.

I think that Talula is a nice name, and she could just go by that. There are a lot of names that are a whole lot worse.
7.31.2008 9:20pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
What about Indian parents in America who name their kid Hardik? (not a joke - look on google - it's a common name) That name might "cause offense to a reasonable person", or it certainly might "make a fool of the child".

I remember doing public address announcing at high school basketball games. One school, bless their hearts, had a substantial Asian population, and had both a Hung Luong and a Hung Dong.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of snickering from the student body during those games.
7.31.2008 10:15pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
My late father in law mentioned knowing some Public Health Service doctors who would suggest to illiterate rural mothers that they name their children after the famous doctor Positive Wasserman. (For you youngster, the test for syphilis is the Wasserman Test). I did a google on "Positive Wasserman Smith" and "Positive Wasserman Jones" some years ago and yes, there were hits.

My late ex had dated a guy known as Dick Burns, and was sufficiently naive to where she didn't appreciate why I found it funny.
7.31.2008 10:39pm
roy (mail) (www):
Child registration is a slippery slope towards confiscation.
7.31.2008 10:45pm
John (mail):
Well, thank god this didn't happen in the U.S., where the act of naming your child for some idiotic effect would doubtless be regarded as an expressive act, if not art, and protected by the First Amendment.
7.31.2008 11:46pm
jim47:
I still want to know what her actual name ended up being. "Kay" would seem like a perfectly acceptably choice given what the cited opinion states.
8.1.2008 12:20am
Speedwell (mail):
Sure, why not, the child can be "Tallulah Kay" and go by "Kay."

Interestingly, in all the discussion about this little girl, I have never seen her name (Tallulah) spelled correctly one single, solitary time.
8.1.2008 12:29am
jim47:

Interestingly, in all the discussion about this little girl, I have never seen her name (Tallulah) spelled correctly one single, solitary time.


Someone pointed out in an earlier thread that Tallulah is the preferred spelling. Presumably the "correct" spelling of her name is Talula, though.
8.1.2008 1:41am
ReaderY:
It's one thing to gives ones child a name in ones traditional culture that simply happens to transliterate awkwardly, but I think people can understand such situations. But I don't think it's reasonable for parents to give their children's names purely as a joke. Children are not a joking matter, and they need to know that their parents take their existence seriously. I don't think the First Amendment is absolute on a matter like this. I don't that imposing limits on names that seem almost harassing would extend down some slippery slope to complete cultural conformity. I think family court judges are mature enough to be able to tell the difference between the situation of a couple naming their first child Hu, and that same couple proceeding to name their second child Wat and their third I Don't Know. One is reasonable, two is likely just a coincidence, but three is across the line.
8.1.2008 3:58am
deathsinger:
I went to school with a kid named Richard Boughner (junior, the third, the fourth???). He went by Dick. No they did not pronounce it bow-ner, they pronounced it bo-ner.

We had a field day with substitute teachers.
8.1.2008 10:35am
Mordecai:
A fine judicial pimpslap for that poor child's dopehead "parents."
8.1.2008 10:43am
BZ (mail):
Well, I had a young fellow in my firm who renamed himself for ancient Roman scholars (he was a classics major). His classmates at Dartmouth reportedly included the siblings Seven and Nine.
8.1.2008 10:51am
Ken Arromdee:
Child registration is a slippery slope towards confiscation.

Really? Are there places where proponents of child registration have stated that eventual confiscation was their intent?
8.1.2008 12:23pm
John Herbison (mail):
Actually, the comedian Tim Allen has written to the effect that dealing with the double entendere of his birth name, Timothy Allen Dick, helped him develop his comedy routines. He was often asked, "Do you have a sister named Anita?"
8.1.2008 1:40pm
Confused (mail):
What, exactly, is wrong with naming a kid "Violence"? That seems to me to be a perfectly good name. Unusual, but hardly offensive or tragic.

It would be a better girl's name than a boy's name, though. ANd it would, I admit, sound even better exoticized into "Violencia" or "Violencette" or something.
8.1.2008 3:21pm
Confused (mail):
And while I'm at it... maybe Midnight Chardonnay is a brand name or something, but that seems perfectly appropriate otherwise.

Chardonnay Midnight sounds even better. I could conceivably even consider naming my next daughter that under the right circumstances.

In fact, the more I think of it, wouldn't that be awesome with the right last name?

Chardonnay Midnight DeVoe?

Chardonnay Midnight Llewelyn?

There's something nice about those combinations... the meter is just right.
8.1.2008 3:27pm
Virginian:
I went to college with a guy named Richard Weed, and yes, he was nicknamed exactly what you would expect him to be nicknamed.
8.1.2008 4:04pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
I recall a slogan "Buy your weed from Weed" which makes me wonder if Virginian and I are schoolmates.
8.1.2008 8:29pm
Porkchop:

I think family court judges are mature enough to be able to tell the difference between the situation of a couple naming their first child Hu, and that same couple proceeding to name their second child Wat and their third I Don't Know. One is reasonable, two is likely just a coincidence, but three is across the line.


Tumaru would be a nice name for a girl, though, don't you think? ;-)
8.2.2008 9:11am
ReaderY:
Yeah, I suppose she could turn out to be a nice catch.
8.3.2008 6:33pm
Nigel Kearney (mail) (www):
The legislation is very clear. Why doesn't the judge apply it instead of effectively inserting an extra rule he thinks the legislature should have put in but didn't?

If he is going to disregard the law, it would be so much better to disregard the one requiring the birth to be registered.

There is also a slippery slope here with the use of the power "to protect a vulnerable child". What if the next judge thinks it's more harmful to teach kids there is a super duper invisible dude watching everything they do? It would be hard to argue with that, actually.

I am not embarrassed to come from the same country as the parents. I am embarrassed to come from the same country as the judge.
8.4.2008 5:12pm