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Hawaii can't fit woman's lengthy last name on driver's license

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 5:48 p.m.

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 would not 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 said.

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 police officer 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.

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