I have a child with ginger hair.
It's not genetic.

It's a colour that I doubt occurs naturally - something akin to George Michael circa 1984.

He has just enjoyed what appears to have been the time of his life at a phenomenon known as "tournament week".

Young teenagers from around the country gather at various venues to play sport at this time of year.


And if you are a first-timer, initiation has become a traditional part of the week.
Last year, I saw a photo of some victorious hockey players from Whangarei. Their heads had been shaved.

It looked awful. The spring sunshine was yet to match their bald scalps to the colour of their faces.

After hearing it was part of an initiation process, I thought even less of it.

I would have fought with tooth and nail to stop someone shaving my head as a teenager. And the notion of shaving your head as some sort of group ritual screams pack mentality to me, rather than team bonding.

I learned though, that if you had your head shaved, you are likely to have chosen the option over having your hair dyed.

I mentioned tournament week in the office - the millennials leaned back in their chairs and reminisced fondly. Both described it as the "best week of the year".

Tales began to emerge that all seemed to indicate harmless fun, rather than forced follicle abuse.

And if it is harmless fun, then who cares. As long as there is an option for an individual to withdraw, if they are opposed to a weird hairdo.

If there is a place in the world for ginger-haired or bald teenagers, there is a place for someone whose point of difference is to not do what everyone else is doing.

There's nothing wrong with having a different view to others.

Our page one story today about Kambi the therapy dog that needs a $3000 life-saving operation is a subject that will divide opinions.

Kambi has already had a $2500 operation, heavily discounted by a kind vet. He needs another - all up the operations will have cost $5500.

That's a lot of money to say, a homeless family living in Northland struggling to find accommodation, and pay for food.

Some readers with the pragmatism that comes from a rural background may think that Kambi should be euthanised - put down.

Others will find the idea abhorrent. Kambi is a therapy dog who helps sick kids.

The thing is though, if the general public want to chip in and pay for Kambi's operations, then good on them. No one's going to get hurt in the process.

And so yes, our child went away with brown hair. And it is now ginger as the result of an initiation.

He willingly chose the hair dying, and loved every minute of the trip.

Oh yes, he injured himself just before he left and barely set foot on a sports field.

The trip cost $500. It was supposed to be to play hockey.

Instead he ended up with ginger hair and the flu.

I'm still getting my head around that one.