'Love is between more than just a man and a woman' - authors want more gay books in NZ schools

Schools and early childhood centres are being warned to teach kids more about same sex families, or risk causing long-term harm.

A Wellington trio is also hoping to improve the lack of resources in New Zealand classrooms depicting gay and lesbian characters.

"Love is between more than just a man and a woman," co-author Adam Reynolds said, who is helping write a children's picture book where the two main characters are gay.

"The story shouldn't be the sexuality the story should stand on its own," fellow co-author Chaz Harris added.

The friends said they grew up questioning whether being gay was wrong because same sex couples were never featured in their childhood.

Experts also say resources showing diverse families are vitally important for children.

"We know that if a child's family is rendered invisible that the child is harmed," Jannette Kelly, who lectures professional studies in education at Waikato University, said.

Last year the Ministry of Education introduced new guidelines for sexuality in the classroom, but schools still decide what resources they purchase.

"I think the key thing to remember is I was exposed to 99.9 per cent heterosexual stories growing up and it didn't make me straight," Mr Harris said, who continues to fundraise for his book.

The book was inspired by the fact the authors never saw same-sex couples in their childhoods. Source: 1 NEWS



Ashburton residents concerned much-needed local water will be shipped to China

A number of Ashburton residents are outraged after it was revealed the district council is selling the rights to extract 40 billion litres of water from aquifers beneath the town.

Ashburton District Council is selling a section in a business estate called Lot 9, which includes resource consent to extract water with a prospective buyer indicating it will ship the water overseas.

Water from the region has become popular in overseas markets like China which value the purity of New Zealand water and clean green image.

Interest groups including ratepayers and the local iwi Ngai Tahu have expressed their concern about the development.

Ashburton resident Jen Branje, who's leading community opposition to the deal, is concerned about a lack of transparency from the council.

She says at times the district is already sucked dry of the resource.

"We go on to heavy water restrictions, we're not allowed to water our gardens or wash our cars, so it's just so contradictory to what goes on around here regarding water," she says.

Ashburton District Council Mayor Angus McKay says the town will actually have more water if the deal goes ahead with the aquifers being recharged after a natural filtering process from farming water races.

Mr McKay says a price has been agreed for the sale of Lot 9 and the deal should be completed in June.

Ashburton locals outraged their local council is set to sell the right to ship billions of litres of Artesian water overseas. Source: 1 NEWS

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Ocean Heke believed to have been run over by unlicensed, drunk driver

Police investigating the death of Ocean Heke, who was found dead by the side of the road in Otorohanga yesterday morning, are speaking to a young couple in connection with the alleged hit and run.

ONE News understands the couple was seen arguing at a party on Main North Road, before both getting into a car that subsequently lost control.

It's believed that car hit Ms Heke as she was walking home from a party in the early hours of yesterday morning.

It's believed alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Ocean Heke.
Ocean Heke. Source: Beez Harris / Facebook

ONE News has also been told that the driver was unlicensed.

Ms Heke's mother has paid tribute to her daughter on Facebook, saying her heart is broken to be farewelling her baby girl. 

Ocean was one of five children, her body will be returned to her family in the next few days.

The car will undergo a forensic examination today.

Police have been busy trying to establish that Ms Heke sustained injuries consistent with being hit by a motor vehicle.

This morning, Te Awamutu police posted a touching message on their Facebook page: "Very sad job that we all dealt with yesterday in Otorohanga".

"Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends."

The night before her death Ocean was at a friend's 18th birthday party. Her father Clarry was at the party too.

Police are not saying how the 17-year-old may have died or how long the body was there before being discovered this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

"She was all good. She's a quiet girl, always smiling," Clarry told NZME.

"She wasn't drinking, or falling around like that. She was just her usual self."

Beez Harris posted a tribute to Ocean on Facebook: "Rest in peace ocean heke xoxo," alongside a photo of Ocean.

Ko Lania Kawhena paid tribute too, commenting on Ms Harris post: "Rest in Paradise my cousin love you always".

Det. Snr Sgt Ross Patterson said police were currently investigating two people and a vehicle which were possibly involved. Source: 1 NEWS