Rob Driessen (rob_d) wrote,
Rob Driessen

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Today's WTF

Courtesy of New Zealand.

Some Taranaki parents have been branded child abusers because of the bizarre names they are giving their children.

Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt made public his concerns in a written decision after a custody hearing in New Plymouth revealed a couple had named their child Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.

The judge was so worried about the effect on the girl he ordered her to be temporarily placed under the guardianship of the court so a suitable name could be chosen.

Among other names cited by Judge Murfitt were Number 16 Bus Shelter, Violence and twins, Benson and Hedges and Fish and Chips.

In the Talula case, he said the parents of the nine-year-old had shown very poor judgment.

"It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap," he said in his ruling.

The girl, who had not had her birth officially registered in New Zealand, had told the court she was so embarrassed about her given name that she had 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," he said.

Judge Murfitt said judges throughout New Zealand's Family Courts were "dismayed by the eccentricity of names" that parents were giving their children.

He cited other examples in Taranaki where parents gave their children names of six-cylinder Ford cars and twins that had been named Benson and Hedges.

"Within this region, children have been saddled with names such as Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and, tragically, Violence," he said.

In a recent Taranaki family court hearing, Judge Murfitt discovered for the first time a mother had named her daughter in text language - giving her the name O.crnia, instead of spelling it out as Oceania.

Judge Murfitt was prevented from talking to the Taranaki Daily News further on the issue yesterday by Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier.

His office did, however, provide a number of other names from throughout New Zealand that had come to the attention of the Family Court.

They included twins who had been named Fish and Chips, as well as another set named Masport and Mower. Some of the boys' names included Yeah Detroit, Spiral Cicada, Kaos, Fat Boy, Stallion and even Hitler.

Girls were not spared either, with Cinderella Beauty Blossom and Twisty Poi registered, while the gender of children named Nero, Keenan Got Lucky and Sex Fruit was not known.

Judge Murfitt said the widespread problem could not easily be fixed because parents had a wide discretion as to the name they chose to bestow on their child.

While the ideal of seeking a unique name could not be criticised "these parents have failed in exercising the first and important task of parenthood". He said it was not "a time to be frivolous or to create a hurdle for their child's future life."

Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro, of Wellington, fully supported Judge Murfitt's "sensible decision" to grant the court temporary custody of Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii so that her name could be changed.

Dr Kiro was extremely concerned parents could give a child such a name and that the parents had not bothered to register their daughter.

She said it was up to parents "to wake up and treat their children with respect".

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