Parents lose custody of girl for naming her Talula Does the Hula
Sydney guardian.co.uk, Thursday July 24, 2008
A nine-year-old girl whose parents named her Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was put into court guardianship in New Zealand so that her name could be changed.
A family court judge, Rob Murfitt, gave the order after hearing that the child was embarrassed about her name and had refused to reveal it to friends. "She told people her name was K because she feared being mocked and teased," the child's lawyer, Colleen MacLeod, told the court.
The judge criticised parents who give their offspring bizarre names, saying it exposed children to ridicule among their peers.
"The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment that this child's parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily," he said.
He said the child had a better insight about the situation than her parents, who had apparently not given any thought to the implications of their actions. The judge criticised the growing trend of parents choosing out-of-the-ordinary names for their children.
In his written ruling, he said names such as Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit were prohibited by registration officials. Others that were permitted included twins called Benson and Hedges, other children called Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and, the judge added, "tragically, Violence". Another mother tried to use text language for her child's name, he said.
The ruling was handed down in February but only came to light in law reports issued today. The girl, who had been at the centre of a custody battle, has since changed her name, but it was not revealed in order to protect her privacy.
Brian Clarke, the registrar general of births, deaths and marriages, said New Zealand law did not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person. He said officials were usually successful in dissuading parents from giving their children embarrassing names.