'I'd really like a granny!' - Migrant mum launches website connecting families with surrogate grandparents

A British mother who longed for her parents after moving to New Zealand 13 years ago has created a surrogate grandparents website for migrants that want to fill the same void. 

Auckland mother-of-two Jo Hayes launched Surrogate Grandparents New Zealand last week after she thought, "I'd really like a granny!", and realised other New Zealanders might also feel disconnected from their families overseas. 

Ms Hayes' website, that she funded from her own pocket, allows for families who are seeking grandparents and elderly people who may feel lonely to connect.

"I just want to help families, make people happy and give them that support they need," Ms Hayes told 1 NEWS NOW. 

So far, Ms Hayes has mostly received applications from families wanting a grandparent. 

She plans on going into retirement homes and communities to spread the word among older people. 

Ms Hayes has taken appropriate steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved - every application must include a police checking form.

At the moment she is "gathering troops" across the country. 

She has set up a Give A Little page hoping to receive enough funds for the website to match nearby families and grandparents together on its own. 

Ms Hayes is shocked at the amount of positivity she has had towards her idea. 

"So many families have said to me, 'We need this!'," she says. "I didn't realise such an impact it'd have on people."

- By 1 NEW NOW reporter Madison Reidy

Jo Hayes and her two children. Source: Supplied



'Treasure life, it's a gift' - Boy actor James Rolleston moving onto next stage of recovery

Actor James Rolleston, who was seriously injured in a horrific crash near his hometown Opotiki in July, is facing an uphill battle to fully recover but his sights are still set on his career.

Surrounded by family, friends and his mentor, the star of Boy and The Dark Horse is beginning intense speech and physical rehabilitation in Auckland this week. 

Toni Street wishes the Dark Horse actor a speedy recovery from a car crash, and fondly remembered interviewing him Source: Seven Sharp

"His speech is good but not good enough to be in front of the camera yet, but he has a strong inner drive so he'll make it," his grandmother Christina told the Herald on Sunday.

"He said to me, 'Nan, if I have learned anything, it's to treasure life. It's a gift'." 

Rolleston's mentor, actor Cliff Curtis, took him onto Jason Statham's Meg movie set currently being filmed in New Zealand, to keep his eye on the prize.

"Part of James' rehabilitation is keeping his focus on his career - we don't want depression to set in or anything like that," Curtis told the New Zealand Herald. 

Christina, who also visited the Hollywood shark movie set, is grateful for Curtis' support. 

Boy star James Rolleston is said to have serious injuries following a crash yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

"Knowing he is there for him means everything," she said. 

Rolleston spent a month in Waikato Hospital's ICU unit after he suffered critical injuries when the car he was driving crashed into Otara bridge on the night of July 26. The actor had to be cut out of the wreckage and airlifted to hospital.

Friend Kaleb Maxwell, who was a passenger in his car that evening, was also injured but was released from hospital before Rolleston. 

James Rolleston Source: Marae

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'You can't just make up your own employment law' - Kiwi Uber drivers encouraged by UK ruling

Kiwi Uber drivers are considering their legal options, following a landmark employment tribunal ruling in the United Kingdom.

The ruling found Uber should treat their drivers in Britain as employees, rather than contractors.

This means they are entitled to receive minimum wage, paid rest breaks, and holiday pay.

Uber is appealing the decision, but New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association chair Ben Wilson does not think they will be successful.

"As soon as it reached a court it was always going to be very obvious that you can't just make up your own employment law," he said.

"That's essentially what they’re doing."

Mr Wilson says the New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association is not currently pursuing an employment law case, but has a number of disputes in the pipeline.

These "will come out in the next couple of weeks," he says, adding that further action is being considered. 

Mr Wilson says they have avoided employment court before now because of the cost, although with a successful ruling in Britain it's possible they will change their minds.

"When the likelihood of winning a case gets that much higher, then the expense becomes a lot more justifiable," he said.

Ultimately he wants to see Uber enter negotiations regarding a proper contract with drivers in New Zealand, to resolve disputes over pay and work conditions.

"If they’re not interested in doing that then we'll pursue after them in every way we can.

“So it may be employment law, it may even be the fair trading act and actually pushing to have them shut down outright," he said.

There are around 3000 Uber drivers in New Zealand and the New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association represents around 500 kiwi drivers. 

Ben Wilson of the NZ Uber Drivers Association says drivers here want negotiations on "a proper independent contractor agreement that's enforceable". Source: 1 NEWS