Name acceptance/rejection biases

Charles Mager made this Official Information request to Department of Internal Affairs

The request was successful.

From: Charles Mager

Dear Department of Internal Affairs,

I have some questions about your process for deciding which baby names are acceptable and which are not. One of your main criteria seems to be whether a reasonable person would find the name offensive. This begs the question of who is a reasonable person? Looking at some of your rejections and acceptances it is obvious that you exercise very subjective biases.

For example you have rejected the name "Lucifer" in the past on these grounds. But why would a reasonable person find this name offensive? If means "Light Bringer".
The name comes from the texts that form the basis of the Abrahamic religions. In those texts Lucifer was the most beautiful of all angels. He was a character that led a revolt against a savage, cruel tyrant in the name of egalitarianism. After losing that war he went on to help early mankind break free of their ignorance and slavery by eating of the tree of knowledge.
How can a reasonable person consider this name offensive?

In contrast, lets look at a couple of names that you routinely let through. Names that originate in these same texts.
Joshua: A biblical war criminal who carried out both ethnic and religious genocide.
Michael: A powerful angel and leader of the host that fought against Lucifer and who is claimed to have later slain many other innocents. Essentially a hitman for a tyrant.

I have nothing against the above two names or others like them. But it is inconceivable that a reasonable person could find "Lucifer" offensive, but not these other two names. It clearly shows the religious biases of DIA. It favours the interpretations of the followers of Abrahamic faiths whilst vilifying followers of other aspects of the same.

As a Luciferian I find the above very offensive. But this is simply one example. It seems that DIA routinely take a prejudiced view whether it is about religion or culture in approving names. I am wanting to more broadly understand DIA's prejudices, including in name selection. So here are my questions

i) How does DIA define "reasonable person"?
ii). Does DIA make any attempt to incorporate different cultures/faiths/paths/belief systems into their considerations when approving or disapproving a name? If you do how do you do that? Do you have a committee of people of many faiths, paths and belief systems to help make the decision?
iii). How many people are involved in the decision about name approval and what are their positions? How does that process work?
iV). I would like a list of all names reject int he last ten years. For each name there should be an explanation of the grounds that it was rejected. Not just something vague like "a reasonable person would find it offensive" but an explanation of why DIA decided that a reasonable person would find it effective

May Lucifer's light bless you,


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From: OIA
Department of Internal Affairs

Tçnâ koe Charles,

Thank you for your OIA request to the Department of Internal Affairs (included with this email).

The Department will provide its response to your request as soon as practicable and within twenty working days.  The 20th working day is 17 October 2019.

Please note that in cases where the Department’s response provides information that is identified to be of general public interest, the response may also be published on the Department of Internal Affairs website.  If the Department publishes its response to your OIA request, all personal information, including your name and contact details, will be removed.

Ngâ mihi

Michelle Reed | Lead Advisor – Official Correspondence 
Te Urungi - Organisational Strategy and Performance
Te Tari Taiwhenua - The Department of Internal Affairs
45 Pipitea St | PO Box 805, Wellington 6140, New Zealand |

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From: Alysha Stevenson
Department of Internal Affairs

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Attachment Charles Mager response 19 20 0255.docx
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Attachment Appendix A Declined Baby names 2009 2018.pdf
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Good morning Charles


Please refer to the attachments for the response to your Official
Information Act request.


Kind regards


Alysha Stevenson | Advisor Official Correspondence

SDO Branch Development and Support Te Waka Aukaha   

The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua   
45 Pipitea Street | PO Box 10-526, Wellington 6143|  [1]  





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From: Charles Mager

Dear Alysha Stevenson,

Thank you for providing the requested information. It does clearly illustrate that the current process has no real provision for guarding against the biases and prejudices clearly evident in name rejections.

But I appreciate you providing the information all the same

Yours sincerely,

Charles Mager

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