Thursday, 2 May 2013

The name game

Every morning I wake at 6am to the dulcet tones of Gareth Cliff and the rest of his team. I always find myself hoping in vain that my alarm has malfunctioned (it can't possibly be morning when it's so dark outside) and try to drown out the stream of jibber-jabber that emits from my radio. Luckily for me, I happen to find said jibber-jabber highly entertaining and largely informative, and so it always eventually succeeds in shaking me from my groggy, sleep-infused state (on some days quicker than others). This morning I was very interested to discover that in New Zealand there are laws regarding what you are and are not allowed to name your children. A name can't be over 100 characters, can't consist of a single letter, can't be offensive, can't contain religious references, must be spelt according to accepted English spelling, and is not allowed to be a self-declared title (Prince, King, Judge etc).

Due to the heavy influx of unacceptable names, the Department of Internal Affairs has compiled a list of all 77 of them to date. Included were a whole host of titles (King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Royal, Duke, Major, Bishop, Majesty, Lady, Judge, Knight, Sir, Emperor, Lord, Saint, General, Eminence, Master, Constable, Minister, Chief, Honour, President, Baron, Mr, Justice, Jr ), numerous one-lettered names (J, T, I, E, V, G, M, C, D ... it'd make learning to spell your name pretty easy), as well as a couple of ?double-barrel? single-lettered ones (CJ, AJ, MC, LB, MJ, SP, H-Q). Then there are the ones with numbers (III, 3rd, 89, VI , 2nd, 5th, 4real, V8) the misspelt ones (Juztice, Justus, Sargent, Qeen V, Majesti Rogue) and finally, the just bizarre (Lucifer, Messiah, Royale, Queen Victoria, Regal, Christ, Mafia No Fear, . - yes, a fullstop - , * - and yes, a star -, and my favourite: Anal).

Now on the one hand, I think that it's completely against our right to freedom of expression (as well as general free will) to tell us what we can and can't name our kids. But on the other hand, I pity the poor little bugger who has to go through 12 years of school with a name like Anal... I've been called Anal enough times, and it isn't pleasant! So I think that the real question here is not about the law, but rather whether or not these people are sane enough to be parents. 

After a bit of scouting, I've compiled my own list of horrendously imaginative names which were not banned - enjoy!

  • Moon Unit*
  • Dweezil*
  • Diva Muffin* (*all three of these are related)
  • Hashtag (thanks Twitter)
  • Excel
  • Jazzy
  • Leeloo
  • Shoog (this sounds like a Dr Seuss character)
  • Sanity
  • Thinn (God forbid he/she has a weight problem) 
  • Ummi
  • Sesame
  • Juju (do I even have to say it?)
  • Fedora
  • Audio Science
  • Mowgli
  • Jeronimo (at least this would be fun to say!)
  • Sage Moonblood
  • Satchel 
  • Rocket
  • Like (damn you Facebook)
  • Seven Sirius (bet you never expected that JK Rowling)
  • Tabooger

OK, I can't go on, there are just too damn many! Feel free to add any of your own :) 


  1. Tabooger is awesome! Sage Moonblood sounds like some hippy vampire and I need a kid named Juju just so I can go "Bad Juju"! Maybe I'll name my dog Juju... but seriously, there should be an entrance exam to be a parent - beside just the physical :P

    There are also those names that aren't necessarily bad names, but the context is wrong - like Sipho for a white guy or Chloe for a dude. Or Adam and Ben, or Amy and Bonnie for twins (see how many twins you know with A and B names).
    Still keen to name my kid Juju though...

  2. There was also Tallulah - Two dolla hooka! I LOVE Juju for a cat :)

  3. It has taken me a while to work out how to comment - I know - technologically challenged mother. All I can say is that you must be thankful that I never christened you with any of those names - you had enough problems with the one I did!