Lesbian love story children's book called an 'abomination'

A second New Zealand children's book promoting same sex relationships is being described as "propaganda" and "an abomination to the Lord".

'Maiden Voyage' tells the story of Ru, a fisherman's daughter who inherits a map from her father, and sets off on a voyage of discovery with a friend, who she then falls in love with.

The picture book has been written by Wellington based authors Chaz Harris, Adam Reynolds and Jamiee Poipoi.

It's the second book for Harris and Reynolds, who also wrote the gay love story, Promised Land last year.

Online reaction on the 1 NEWS Facebook page to 'Maiden Voyage' has been mixed with some describing the book as "a load of trash", "child abuse" and "trying to normalize something that's not normal".

"When 99 percent of us are straight, I don't see why Disney or Pixar or who ever needs to show or promote this. Let the kids figure it out and ask their own questions," one person says.

Other readers are more complementary about the book with one person saying it will mean their "daughter will grow into a caring respectful person to all. Unlike what I am seeing here."

Another person wrote: "how awesome, a definite step in the right direction towards educating children on the diverse world they live in."

Jaimee Poipoi says it's important for young people to feel included, that they have a place in the world and something they can relate to.

"If they can identify themselves within a story, that empowers them to be who they are and what they represent," Poipoi says.

Chaz Harris says there is a huge need for change in publishing to reflect and honour the lives of all young people.

"Without appealing directly to the public with funding campaigns like this, much-needed inclusive books like these that reflect the world around us don't get made."

"For instance, a study in 2012 found that less than 7.5% of children's books released that year included characters of colour," Harris told 1 NEWS.

'Maiden Voyage' needs almost $7000 more to reach its funding target of $40,000, which is being collected on Kickstarter.

Chaz Harris' book Maiden Voyage tells the story of the love between two young female characters. Source: 1 NEWS


Four facing charges after massive illegal pāua bust

A massive illegal haul of pāua, mostly undersized, has been uncovered in Taranaki following an operation by the police and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Fishery officers and police discovered four people with a total of 736 pāua, 703 of which were undersized after they were stopped at a checkpoint.

A vehicle and a set net have been seized. They now face serious charges.

The Taranaki region has a lower minimum size for pāua because the shellfish are naturally small and never reach the minimum legal size that applies to the rest of the country.

Fishery officers have returned all of the shellfish to the sea.


Paua Source: rnz.co.nz


Kiwi and Aussie police dogs fighting it out to be crowned the best in Australasia

The trans-Tasman rivalry between New Zealand and Australia will hit another gear this week, with both nations' police dogs fighting it out for the title of Australasia's best.

New Zealand's Paw Blacks are looking to defend their title, with the Australian team in Wellington looking to pinch the Kiwi's crown.

However, for those in the industry, the competition is more about setting standards than trans-Tasman oneupmanship.

"It's around benchmarking we all work together very closely with the Australians so for each state and each dog section it's just seeing how we are and of course there's a friendly rivalry as well," NZ dog coordinator Todd Southall told 1 NEWS.

For the competition though, the Australians are looking to restore some pride, with the likes of the Kiwis and Silver Ferns claiming success over their arch rivals already this week.

"All we've coped since we got here is mentions of the sporting prowess of New Zealand at the moment so we are looking to maybe right that in some very small way," Australia's Craig Charles said.

The top dog will be revealed on Thursday night.

For the first time in 20 years New Zealand’s playing host to the trans-Tasman canine competition. Source: 1 NEWS



Wild weather forces longest delay in 40 years for Kiwi scientists journeying to Antarctica

New Zealand scientists' trip to Antarctica has been delayed, with wild weather battering the icy continent.

With winds lashing snow and sleet into an icy storm, activity at the McMurdo Sound airfields have come to a screeching halt, leaving planes grounded on the Christchurch tarmac.

The weather has caused the longest delay in 40 years, setting scientists back a further two weeks.

However, a slight break in the weather has left the Kiwi team scrambling to depart as soon as possible.

Officials are hopeful that two flights, holding around 20 logistics staff will depart tomorrow, optimistic a further five can take off by Friday.

Weather permitting, scientists will take off in two weeks, where they can finally get to work.

The start of the science season is already two weeks behind schedule. Source: 1 NEWS

'State care can have disastrous implications' - Chief District Court Judge

Placing children and young people in state care can have disastrous consequences and greatly increase their risk of becoming chronic offenders, says the Chief District Court Judge.

Judge Jan-Marie Doogue made her comments to lawyers at the Law Foundation's Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address in Dunedin today, while highlighting the risks of placing children and young people in state care.

She said if a family court judge considered a child or young person was in need of care and protection, the child or young person could be placed in appropriate care, most commonly in the care of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki.

Read the full text of Judge Jan-Marie Doogue's speech here

As of June this year, a record 6300 children were in state care.

"The figures tell us that our most vulnerable children and young people are being put into state care faster than ever before," she said.

Yet despite needing a sense of stability and normalcy, many do not receive it. Between 2013 and 2017, 40 percent of children in state care had at least three caregivers.

This is in spite of research suggesting that a secure placement, coupled with a continuous and quality relationship with a foster parent, can avert the onset of criminal behaviour.

And the prognosis isn't good. Those with a history in state care are more likely to be chronic and persistent offenders as adults.

They are 15 times more likely than their peers to have a record with the Department of Corrections. Seventeen percent of all prisoners, and 13 percent of all people serving a community-based sentence, had a care and protection event by the time they were 17-years-old.

It is even worse for young offenders in prison. More than four out of five prisoners under the age of 20 have been in state care. Māori make up two-thirds of children and young people in state care.

"What is clear to Family Court Judges is that state care can have disastrous implications on a child or young person's development and can greatly increase the risk of future offending," Judge Jan-Marie Doogue said.

She suggested one approach which is used in numerous overseas jurisdictions and involves giving district court judges the same range of tools available to the youth court when dealing with young adults.

Youth Justice Facilities

Chief Judge Doogue also touched on the problems many young people face when they are referred to youth justice facilities.

"A staggering two-thirds of young people in youth justice residences meet the criteria for substance abuse disorder. Even more are reported to be heavy drinkers. These figures are worse for Māori who, on average, start using alcohol and drugs from an earlier age."

Then there are mental health issues.

"Between 50-75 percent of youth involved in the justice system meet diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health disorder. Those in youth justice residences are 10 times more likely to have a mental health disorder than youth generally. As a recent study concluded - rather chillingly - in New Zealand youth justice residences, 'some form of psychological need was the rule rather than the exception'," she said.

Legislative Reform

From July, the Oranga Tamariki Act will include the tikanga Māori concepts of mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. It will establish as principles the need to consider these concepts at the heart of any decision made in respect of a child or young person, as well as the need to take a holistic approach in any decision-making.

In light of this, Judge Doogue said it was crucial that judges were culturally competent. She said they would need to understand the key tikanga Māori concepts, as well as having ongoing education on tikanga and Te Reo Māori.

"Our judges will need to be able to both understand the disadvantage that those children and young persons who come into the Court have faced, as well as recognise how their whānau, hapū and iwi can be part of the solution," she said.

Chief Judge Doogue said the Family Court will need to make greater use of cultural reports and lay advocates, which provide judges with pertinent information and help find a suitable solution.

She said it was also important whānau and social worker engagement at Family Court Conferences and Mediation Conferences will also help to craft a plan in the best interests of the child or young person.

Chief Judge Doogue said these changes would require Family Court judges to change the way things are done, including a way care and protection matters are considered.

"Currently, some reviews are done in Chambers, on the papers. It is rare for Judges to have family and whanau in the courtroom. This is because the final decision comes after the mandatory Family Group Conference where all parties are present. However, if we stay true to the Act's expanded principles, it may be that care and protection reviews simply need to be done kanohi ki te kanohi - face to face."

That would give whānau, hapū and iwi a greater opportunity to be heard, which carried immense cultural and moral value, she said.

Jan-Marie Doogue told the audience more money needed to be spent on the Family Court's care and protection matters, which account for 15 percent of the court's work.

By Catherine Hutton


State care
Source: Supplied