Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was compelled to bring attention to the issue after a policeman 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.
The police officer suggested she could use her maiden name.
“I said, how disrespectful to the Hawaiian people because there’s a lot of meaning behind this name. I’ve had this name for over 20 years. I had to grow into this name. It’s very deep spiritual path,” she said.
Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Thursday the state is working to increase space for names on driver’s licenses and ID cards.
By the end of the year, the cards will allow 40 characters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.
Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, who practices shoreline fishing in the Hawaiian tradition as a profession, said she’s happy the publicity about her situation has prompted many people to have badly needed discussions.
“If you’re going to require people to have picture IDs to identify them, they have to be correct,” she said.