Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Officially Royal and proud of it

"I decided to call myself Royal when I moved to New Zealand because people here could not pronounce my Chinese name, Jun Zun," Mrs Reed said. Photo / Doug Sherring
"I decided to call myself Royal when I moved to New Zealand because people here could not pronounce my Chinese name, Jun Zun," Mrs Reed said. Photo / Doug Sherring

People laugh and ask if they are in the presence of royalty when she hands out her business cards, Auckland lawyer Royal Reed says.

The name Royal, and variations like Royale, Royahl and Royaal, was the name most likely to be rejected last year by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs.

But the 40-year-old has not only managed to officially change her name to Royal, but has also helped her brother get the name registered for his daughter.

"I decided to call myself Royal when I moved to New Zealand because people here could not pronounce my Chinese name, Jun Zun," Mrs Reed said.

"Royal is also the translated meaning of my Chinese name, which is taken from the Bible."

Originally from Taiwan, Mrs Reed decided to make her anglicised name official by deed poll when she was 23, three years after moving to New Zealand.

"To get the name Royal, I had to prove that I have been using it since I moved to New Zealand," she said.

Three years ago, Mrs Reed again had to write to the department when her brother decided to name his daughter Esther Royal.

"She's my first niece and they thought it would be very special to have a part of my name in her name," said Mrs Reed, founder and director of Prestige Lawyers. "Once again, I had to prove that I'm called Royal and send a copy of my passport through."

Although there was no list of "banned" names, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery said decisions were made on a name-by-name basis.

"When I introduce myself, some people would laugh and say to me 'should I bow?'" Mrs Reed said.

"My response is that my name is Royal Reed and not Royal Highness."

She said being called Royal had its advantages, as it was unique and easy for new acquaintances and clients to remember.

Messiah was the name most commonly rejected, and other names high on the rejection list were Prince, Princess, Empress, Sir, Christ, Justyce and Superintendent.

Families are given a chance to explain the reasoning behind their choice if need be but last year, 49 names were rejected anyway.

- NZ Herald

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