Aksel’s new name for new job


Tamahere got a new councillor at the recent local body election but now the novelty has gone a step further.

Tamahere ward councillor Aksel Bech will be sworn into office with a new name
Tamahere ward councillor Aksel Bech will be sworn into office with a new name
The erstwhile Aksel Jepsen has a freshly minted surname.

From now on he will be Aksel Bech, the new surname previously his middle name and drawn from his mother’s maiden name.

One of the first outings for Bech – name and man – will be when he is sworn in as Tamahere ward councillor on October 27.

The former Jepsen family had all been undergoing the complex process of changing their surname over a year when Aksel decided to stand for the Waikato District Council.

The name shift wasn’t far enough through at the time of the election to comply with the requirements of the Local Government Act so was put on hold.

“With that behind us and the official result declared, we have proceeded so I will be taking my oath as ward councillor for Tamahere next week as Aksel Bech rather than Aksel Bech Jepsen,” Bech told Tamahere Forum.

“As always, names tell a story and the short version is that Bech is my mother’s maiden name and has always been my middle name; it’s where we belong and it is our family,” he said.

“Jepsen is my now deceased step-father’s family name that I have had carried since my teenage years but is not one I felt right to continue to carry or indeed to hand on to our children so we have returned “home” to my mother’s family name.

“I realise it might seem a little unusual or unexpected,” Bech said of the move that can only be described as brave and undoubtedly difficult.

“I can only reinforce that it’s still “Aksel for Tamahere” and I look forward to serving this community through the new community committee that’s just been elected and in the council chamber with passion.”

Famous name changes

Aksel Bech is in interesting political company in changing his name – former US President Bill Clinton was born William Blythe but later took his stepfather’s name.

A website dedicated to famous name changes notes that other politicians to change their names were Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (from David Green) and West German Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Willy Brandt (from Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm).

A guide to changing your name in New Zealand is here.

2 thoughts on “Aksel’s new name for new job

  • October 20, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Hi Aksel,
    I too changed my name to my mothers maiden name a few years ago when my marriage broke up, best thing I ever did. I have a REAL Danish name now which I feel more comfortable with as I was born there too. Used to be Pia Maria Mitchell, now Pia Maria Hansen.

    • October 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Pia -I have had a lot of positive comments and feedback: names mean a lot and should tell your story to feel right. The hassle of new passport, drivers license, library cards etc etc is real -but worth it I think to truly feel “at home”. I guess that’s the central idea of whakapapa too, to reference Maori culture: you need to know where you come from to know who you are! Thanks for sharing Pia. Aksel.


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