Woman’s last name won’t fit on license

HONOLULU — A Hawaii woman’s last name is a real mouthful, containing 36 letters and 19 syllables in all. And it’s so long that she couldn’t get a driver’s license with her correct name.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is in the midst of a fight with state and local officials to ensure that her full name gets listed on a license or ID card. Her name is pronounced: KAY’-ee-hah-nah-EE’-coo-COW’-ah-KAH’-hee-HOO’-lee-heh-eh-KAH’-how-NAH-eh-leh.

The documents only have room for 35 characters, so Hawaii County instead issued her driver’s license and her state ID with the last letter of her name chopped off. And it omitted her first name.

The 54-year-old Big Island resident wrote her mayor and city councilwoman for help, but the county said the state of Hawaii computer system they used wouldn’t allow names longer than 35 characters.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele got the name when she married her Hawaiian husband in 1992.

He used only the one name, which his grandfather gave him. The name came to his grandfather in a dream that also told him he would have a grandson.

Her husband died in 2008, but he had similar problems when he was alive, she told The Associated Press.

The name has layers of meanings. One, she said, is “When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos.” It also references the origins of her and her husband’s family.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was compelled to bring attention to the issue after a policeman last month gave her a hard time about her driver’s license when he pulled her over for a traffic stop. She wrote Honolulu television station KHON for help, and her story started getting more attention.

“I said wait a minute, this is not my fault. This is the county’s fault that I don’t have an ID that has my name correctly,” she said.

The police officer suggested she could use her maiden name.

“I said, how disrespectful to the Hawaiian people because there’s a lot of meaning behind this name. I’ve had this name for over 20 years. I had to grow into this name. It’s very deep spiritual path,” she said.

Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Thursday the state is working to increase space for names on driver’s licenses and ID cards.

By the end of the year, the cards will 40 characters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, who practices shoreline fishing in the Hawaiian tradition as a profession, said she’s happy the publicity about her situation has prompted many people to have badly needed discussions.

“If you’re going to require people to have picture IDs to identify them, they have to be correct,” she said.

More in Local News

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital accepting adolescent patients

The facility is the first mental heallth unit in the county to offer in-patient services for children.

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Teen murder suspect captured — then escapes and is recaptured

The 16-year-old is one of at least three young suspects in the shooting death of an Everett woman.

Most Read