NZ judge renames "Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii"

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A young girl so embarrassed by being called “Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii” has won a new name from a family court judge in New Zealand.

Judge Rob Murfitt, ruling from the city of New Plymouth on New Zealand’s North Island, made the youngster a ward of court so that she could change the name that she hates.

Murfitt, in a written ruling released on Thursday, said the girl’s mother had not given any thought to the implication of naming her daughter.

“In all facets of life, a child bearing this name would be held up to ridicule and suspicion,” Murfitt wrote in his ruling that was made in February but only just released.

“The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name for her. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap quite unnecessarily.”

The name issue arose during a custody hearing for the girl.

Murfitt also took a stand against other parents saddling their children with bizarre names despite officials often trying to talk them out of unusual choices, saying this could create “social hurdles” as they grew up.

He cited as examples a family who named their children after six-cylinder Ford cars, twins called Benson and Hedges and youngsters called Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence.

“Quite frequently judges in the family court are dismayed by the eccentricity of names which some litigants have given their children,” he wrote.

New Zealand’s Child, Youth and Family agency was quoted as telling local reporters that it did not consider odd names as such to be child abuse although it could be classified as such if a child is bullied because of his or her name.

In Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’s case, there was no bullying, probably because the girl was so embarrassed that she never told friends her real name, instead calling herself “K”.

Judge Murfitt gave the girl a new name but it was not made public in order to protect her privacy. The custody case was also resolved.