I'm Dennis, it's spelt Denis

NAME GAME: Denis Shaw, formerly known as Dennis Shaw on his passport, has had to drop an ‘‘n’’ from his name for official purposes.
NAME GAME: Denis Shaw, formerly known as Dennis Shaw on his passport, has had to drop an ‘‘n’’ from his name for official purposes.

Dennis Shaw has been living "under false pretences" most of his life, or should that be Denis?

For 65 years Mr Shaw believed his name was spelt Dennis, until his application for a passport was declined because legally his name is Denis.

"If I fly anywhere I've got to use one ‘n' because the computer picks it up."

He has had many passports before but, due to the electronic versions, Immigration New Zealand now picks up on the slightest discrepancies, he said.

"It's a very minor point, but a very major point if you think about the implications."

Despite now knowing the correct spelling, Mr Shaw still tends to use the two-N version of his name to avoid confusion among people who have always known him as Dennis.

People not knowing the exact spelling of their name are more common than some people think - and often it is Immigration New Zealand that picks up the misprints.

However, immigration does not always get its facts right, according to Chyrll Palmer.

When she applied for a passport she was told she had been spelling her name wrong for the past 44 years.

"I had to beg them to check and it turns out they input [it] wrong on their system."

Like Mr Shaw, Denese Keenan also had an unexpected name change later in life.

"My name was spelt Denise for years."

However, after looking at her birth certificate she discovered her nana had registered her as Denese. She now spells her name that way.

Stacey Williams made a similar discovery last year before her wedding. "I found out I'd been spelling my middle name wrong."

Anna Munro also spent years spelling her middle name wrong.

When she looked at her birth certificate at the age of 25, she discovered her middle name is Maria, not Marie.

Stacey Dorne also got a surprise to find she had been spelling her name wrong. "I always thought my name was spelt ‘Stacy' not ‘Stacey' till I looked at my birth certificate . . . Didn't realise that till I was about 20."

Ruth Ballantyne said a misspelt name in her family is a long-standing joke.

"My brother's middle name was supposed to be Harold after our grandfather, but my dad misspelt it Harrold when he registered his birth. When my brother got a copy of his birth certificate to get his licence when he was 15 the mistake was discovered and it's been a family joke ever since."

The Timaru Herald