Department of Internal Affairs rename Ngāti Kahungunu man

By Aroha Treacher

Twenty-three-years after his parents legally named him Prince-Eugene Hohua Price, the Department of Internal Affairs is now refusing to let him keep his name. It has been a long three month battle for him and his family as they fight to keep his identity.

When Prince-Eugene misplaced his original birth certificate, he applied for a new certificate and when that new certificate arrived his family were shocked to discover his name "Prince" had been removed from his official records.

Says the Ngāti Kahungunu descendant, “It makes me feel like nobody really because I'm really registered with who I am. I'm not even in the records.”

His mother, Peggy-Joe Mitai, however says that “I thought it was a joke, because they had sent him a birth certificate without the name ‘Prince’ on it.”

On his original birth certificate, it states his name Prince-Eugene, a name which has special significance to his mother, but now that special right has been taken away from her.

“It’s just not right, it's not fair, to be dictated to and have that right chopped from you that we've been afforded all this time” adds Peggy-Joe.

This whole problem has arisen due to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1995, that makes it illegal to name your children after titles such as Prince, Sir and King, but Prince-Eugene was born in 1991, four years before the enactment of this Act.

The Department of Internal Affairs went through an investigation into the situation, but still told the family, he was not allowed to have his name on official records, including his son's birth certificate. But now the Department has changed its tune and blames the mix-up on a department typographical error when his birth certificate was originally registered.

Jeff Montgomery, the Registrar General today stated that “We have apologised to the family.”

It's a been a long, stressful and hurtful three months for this family, but now they are able to move forward with the department sending out a corrected birth certificate complete with the full name Prince-Eugene Hohua Price.

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