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Woman's last name is too long for driver's license: Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekah

According to the Huffington Post on Sept. 11, a Hawaiian woman has a problem getting a driver's license because her name is too long to fit into the space.

Woman's last name wouldn't fit on driver's license: Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekah
Margaret Minnicks

The Hawaii Department of Transportation is in the news for telling the woman to shorten her 35-letter-long last name.

For the past 20 years, Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele has had to carry two IDs. One is a state ID card and the other is her driver's license. Her Hawaii driver's license dropped one letter in her last name and didn't even include her first or middle name because there wasn't space for either one.

In the past, the governor's office made a special adjustment to accommodate her full name on her state ID, but when that expired in May, her new state ID came back incomplete, just like her driver's license.

This is definitely an inconvenience for Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele. Whenever she has to present her identification, she has to present both cards because everything is not on just one card.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele described what happened at a recent traffic stop. She said that the police officer looked at her ID and wanted to know what was her first name.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahunaelea has been advised by the county to either shorten or change her name. She doesn't want to do either one.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is the woman's married name. Now that her husband is deceased, she wants to keep it to honor his memory. Besides she say it is also his heritage.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele explained:

"You see, to some people in the world, your name is everything. If I say my name to an elder Hawaiian (kupuna), they know everything about my husband's family going back many generations ... just from the name. When the name is sliced up, changed or altered it distorts the intention and meaning that the name represents. Unfortunately, many people have been shamed into hiding their real names because they don't fit in with the dominant culture's lack of respect for the name."

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation in Hawaii says that they are working to increase the number of characters allowed on a driver's license to 40. Unfortunately, they will encounter the same problem if someone has a name with 41 characters.

Some news reporters don't even bother trying to pronounce the last name when reporting this story, but there are some who have no problem pronouncing "Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele" even though it takes them a little extra time to say it.

Watch the video to hear the pronunciation of the name.

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