William Shakespeare once asked, "What's in a name?" To him, it was not much. But to Janice "Lokelani" Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, the importance of her name was its link to a treasured past. For 20 years now, she has carried two forms of ID: a driver's license from Hawaii that displays a truncated version of her surname, dropping the 35th letter of it, while leaving out her first and middle name; and a Hawaii state identification card, which she arranged with the governor's office to fit her entire name. But when her special state ID card expired in May, she received a new one that was similar to her driver's license, eschewing her first and middle names and part of her last.
She told KHON2 News that the truncation has caused confusion during police stops and other situations involving public officials. Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has been told by the county to shorten her last name, or even change it back to her maiden name, a task that thewoman is staunchly against. The surname is that of her deceased husband, and she considers it an important link between them. In an email, she wrote, "You see, to some people in the world, your name is everything. If I say my name to an elder Hawaiian, they know everything about my husband's family going back many generations ... just from the name."
For their part, the Hawaii Department of Transportation told KHON2 News in Honolulu that they were looking into changing the character limit on their ID cards so that 40 characters could fit. Let's hope the two work it out, and in the meantime, we can all work on trying to pronounce that awesome last name.