Recently, I’ve been working with two women who are expecting babies this summer, and naturally part of the conversation always involves baby names. Which is why a recent article caught my eye — New Zealand has forbidden 21 baby names.
Is this a good idea? New Zealand is one of many countries that have some pretty strict naming rules. This country’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages approves baby names as per their Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act of 1995, which can prohibit any name if “it might cause offence to a reasonable person; or it is unreasonably long; or without adequate justification, it is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank.” And in case you’re wondering, the United States has pretty lenient naming laws. The few restrictions we have vary by state and usually involve limits on length.
So what are the names New Zealand has forbidden? They are (deep breath) Lucifer, Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii (really!), Anal, Baron, Stallion, Sex Fruit, 4real, Rogue, Fish and Chips, Constable, Yeah Detroit, Mafia No Fear, Saint, Princess, Twisty Poi, Sir, Justice, Queen Victoria, Keenan Got Lucy, .(full stop), and Messiah. Okay, so maybe the Kiwis are onto something. This is one area where originally can be a serious disadvantage, especially if you happen to be the victimized child.
Of course, unique names can be fun. I knew someone in college named Roc Bottomly, and when I was in the Air Force, I met a lieutenant whose first name was General. But seriously, maybe this is one area where tighter laws are a good thing.