A NZ couple are fighting the powers that be for the right to name their son "4Real", the New Zealand Herald reports.
Pat and Sheena Wheaton claim the Department of Internal Affairs has deployed the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995 in refusing to register the name. The law forbids "names that resemble an official title or rank, names that are unreasonably long, and names that may cause offence to a reasonable person". It also advises that parents "avoid names which would cause their child to be teased or made fun of".
The Wheatons' choice was inspired by seeing an ultrasound of the unborn infant and realising it was "for real". Pat Wheaton told the Herald: "The name has meaning for us, so why not?" He added: "If it was George Bush's child*, or the Dalai Lama's, no one would care what it was called."
His wife earlier this week explained on TV show Close Up: "For most of us, when we try to figure out what our names mean, we have to look it up in a babies book - and when you see the meaning, there's no real direct link between the meaning and the name; whereas with his name, everyone knows what it means."
The Department of Internal Affairs, meanwhile, said in a statement that it had not actually rejected the name and that "discussions with the Wheatons were ongoing in an attempt to clarify the situation". The statement added "unusual applications were considered on a case-by-case basis, according to the merits of each application and in terms of legal criteria".
The New Zealand Herald notes that names which have in the past been declined include "Satan" and "Adolf Hitler". It's not just NZ which takes a dim view of parental silliness, though. Regular readers will recall the Swedish couple who locked horns with the authorities over an attempt to name their sprog "Metallica" and the Chinese bloke who couldn't call his son "@".
In the US of A, however, proud parents regularly use their democratic right to cause their kids a lifetime of woe, as Jon Blake Cusack Version 2.0 can doubtless attest. ®
*That's not strictly true. People really would feel forced to comment were El Prez to name a kid "Hairy", "Burning" or "Mulberry".