HUMOUR - By GRAHAM REID
A Howick family's Christmas was almost ruined yesterday when the daughter not only suggested her presents were unacceptable, but that she did not want to go on a caravan holiday in the Far North next week with the family.
Fourteen-year-old Amber Riley-Thompson told her parents, grandparents and a gathering of family friends that her main Christmas presents of a lilo and a beach towel from her parents, and a Harry Potter novel from her grandmother were "just stink useless things".
To the surprise of her parents, she announced that what she really wanted was "that 50 Cent album where he swears and stuff, one of them T-shirts with 'This bitch spits' on it, and some money, like a hundred bucks or something".
After Amber left the house to sulk under the family trampoline, her parents expressed disappointment at her reaction and her mother, Mrs Raylene Riley-Thompson, told guests that "this was such a surprise, she's a lovely kid really".
The lunch - which included glazed ham, asparagus rolls and pavlova - was being eaten in silence when other guests including Amber's godmother arrived in the late afternoon.
Late last night the Herald, which has been invited to accompany the family on its annual holiday, was present when Amber stormed back in the house and said she would prefer not to go on holiday to Kakamoana Caravan Park in the Far North tomorrow.
Her father, Bruce, made mention of some outstanding debts and offered mild parental discipline before locking her in her room and saying words to the effect that hell would be covered in ice before Amber would be allowed to stay at home by herself.
Mr Riley-Thompson also administered a quick but effective clip to the ear of Amber's younger brother Jarred when he poked his tongue out at Amber and said, "Nyah nyah, ha, ha" as she was brought out to apologise for her behaviour just before the family settled in to watch a DVD of Terminator 3.
It is expected Amber and her parents will leave for Kakamoana Beach today, joining the rush north. The Herald will report daily on the holiday of this average New Zealand family.