West wins the name game

VANITA PRASAD
Last updated 08:53 22/05/2012
Name Game

NATURE NAMES: Riivah Jayde, left, and Hurricayn Rob have some of the most unusual names in West Auckland.

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Ruby and Liam were among the most popular baby names in New Zealand last year but in West Auckland be prepared to come across Unique or Hannibal.

Many parents in the west are proud to give their children names that are a little different.

Shaela Nathan and John Tike of Henderson are parents to 10-month-old Hurricayn Rob and his 2-year-old sister Riivah Jayde.

Miss Nathan says her children's names reflect their personalities.

"Riivah was pretty hard to name and it took three weeks before one stuck. She's really calm and quiet," Miss Nathan says.

"But when Hurricayn came out the midwife said he was loud and proud. When he cried you could hear him from the letterbox.

"Hurricayn also matches the season he was born in because when I went into labour it was 3am and pouring with rain."

Miss Nathan has always liked unusual names but her parents were shocked by her choices.

"They were like `why'd you name him that for?' but you only have to spend five minutes with him to know why. He's going to be a rugby player for sure."

Suburbs rugby premier team coach Ramsey Tomakino says he's come across some unusual names during his three years with the Waitakere team.

"Last year we had Hannibal, Nissan and Rambo – we have lots of people who say they like seeing our team lists because of the names."

The team has Zinzan and Rocky on board this year and Mr Tomakino says the peculiar names are no bad thing.

"They're all unique names and they're uniquely good players," he says.

He reckons having an unusual name helps some players get their performance noticed.

"They've got a strange name and there's a degree of teasing that comes with that but that just means they have to try a little harder to be really good," he says.

A 1973 study Name Stereotypes and Teacher Expectations published in the Journal of Educational Psychology showed that children with unusual names who were teased had poor performance at school.

But a later study by C Joubert suggests that once at university level strange names have less of a psychological effect on academic success.

Unusual names haven't been a barrier for former Kelston Boys High School students Wellington and Citizen Tamatimu.

The New Zealand-Samoan identical twins gained scholarships to Auckland University to study law and commerce and went on to be admitted to the bar.

Glen Eden resident Vanessa Longopoa says some Pacific Island parents have a tendency to name their children after unusual things.

"My older sister's named Velvet because it was my grandmother's favourite material."

Mrs Longopoa admired her sister's name so much she passed it on to her 4-year-old daughter.

"I get very positive reactions from people and I'd say 100 per cent of people ask about the name."

The Waitemata Plunket office says the most common girls names in West Auckland are Isabella, Rose, Ivy, Khloe, Abby and Ruby.

The most popular boys names are Caleb, Coby, Jacob, Oliver, Riley and Aiden.

Plunket's most unusual West Auckland names include Problemo, Unique, Famous, Season, Stylez, Poison, Storm, Lovely, Hurricayn, Zepha and Potato.

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Internal Affairs Department deputy registrar-general Ross McPherson says no names are banned but they do have to fall within the law.

"In general terms, people can register whatever names they like for their children. However, some rules do apply."

Names can't be numbers or symbols, more than 100 characters long, use an unearned title or be offensive to the general public, he says.

"A name can be rejected if it might cause offence to a reasonable person or if it is, includes or resembles an official rank or title, or if it is unreasonably long.

"One couldn't, for example, register a swear word as a name for their child or couldn't, without adequate justification, register a name of Justice, Colonel or Royal."

Kelston Kween dancer and fa'afafine Jaroncye Lole says she stopped being called Jerome, her birth name, four years ago and could never go back to it even though Jaroncye is mispronounced and misspelt a lot.

"It's part of my identity now. I got the name by merging the start of my name with Beyonce."

Psychotherapist Mary Farrell says unusual names often reflect a child's parents.

"It's more about the child's parents making a statement about themselves even though the child has to live with the name."

- Western Leader

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