Actress Teuila Blakely reveals shame and stigma she was made to feel as a teen mum - 'I can't be a good mother because I'm young?'

Actress Teuila Blakely has revealed how being humiliated and judged as a teenage mother led her to consider taking her life.

Blakely had a baby at 17, and faced condemnation from the public - including other mums.

"One of the worst experiences I had was when I was in Kmart trying to get my son a toy, and I couldn't afford the toy. It was really embarrassing.

"The lady behind me - who literally had her own toddler - said: 'This is why people like you shouldn't have kids, because you can't even afford to buy your child toys. I feel sorry for your child'." 

Blakely says the incident was typical of public attitudes towards teen parents in the 1990s.

"So, I can't be a good mother because I'm young? [The woman] felt, as a mother, that she had the right to judge me and put me down."

On this weekend's episode of The Inside Word, Blakely explains how she was kicked out of home on the day she told her parents that she was pregnant. 

Blakely says she and her son, Jared, were on their own for 10 years. She would "literally get abused while walking down the street" by people who didn't even know her.

"It was so tough, and to be honest, I constantly felt like I wanted to kill myself. Because of the pressure, [and] because it was so tough.

"But in saying that, because I had this beautiful little boy who completely, solely depended on me, he was the one reason I was never ever going to do that.

"I just had this determination that I was going to make a good life for myself and my son."

Watch the full episode of The Inside Word on Teen Parenthood on Sunday at 9pm on DUKE.

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Maori far more likely to be injured at work, Government says

Maori workers are far more likely to be injured on the job than other employees, the Government has revealed.

Over the last five years, more than 250 people were killed and almost 2000 seriously injured at work.

Maori workers are 44 per cent more likely to be injured at work than the general population.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has today released a draft strategy for health and safety at work.

It’ll look at what improvements need to be made in health and safety in workplaces over the next 10 years.

"I want to ensure that we are reducing all types of significant harm at work – this includes broadening the focus from acute harm to make sure we’re managing wider health risks, including mental health," Mr Lees-Galloway says.

Maori are over represented in injury statistics and high-risk sectors, such as forestry and construction. They are also more likely to be in temporary, geographically remote or precarious employment.

There have been law changes in the last few years that have tightened health and safety regulations.

But Mr Lees-Galloway says they haven’t gone far enough and more "urgent" change is needed.

Submissions on the strategy are open until June 8.


Do you know this man? Police hunting gun-wielding thug accused of terrifying Ashburton dairy worker

Police are hunting a man accused of taking a gun into an Ashburton dairy, threatening a staff member and fleeing with cash.

The incident took place around 8.20pm last night, at Ashburton Discount Dairy on Alford Forest Rd.

The man entered the store with a long-barreled firearm.

He allegedly threatened a staff member, stole cash and fled along Clark St.

"The offender is described as a male with silver tape or a mask over his face, he was wearing an orange hi-vis top over blue clothing," Senior Sergeant Philip Dean said.  

Source: NZ Police