An educator is pleading with parents to expose their boys to different role models after five teenagers died in a car crash near Timaru.
Richie Hardcore, a public speaker who specialised in exploring masculinity, told Newstalk ZB's Kate Hawkesby this morning that parents could help challenge gender stereotypes which might limit incidents like Saturday's fatal crash.
"A lot of young guys are looking for a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging, we all want to fit in and if fitting in means drinking too much and doing stupid things in our cars then we tend to go along with it," he said.
"If parents can give them alternatives to that sort of behaviour, then hopefully we'll see less and less of these sorts of tragedies."
Five boys, aged 15 and 16, died after the Nissan Bluebird sedan they were travelling in hit a power pole about 7.30pm.
The 19-year-old driver survived and was taken to Timaru Hospital with serious injuries.
He was well enough to post a message on social media yesterday afternoon, including a photograph of himself in his hospital bed, apologising for the crash.
"Hello everyone just wanted to say I'm not dead I am very very lucky to still be alive and I can't believe what has happened," he wrote, in a post seen by the Herald.
"And I am so so so sorry to the families that I have put in pain coz of stupid mistakes that I made that has costed five lives."
Aoraki Police Area Commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said a number of people in the car were not wearing seatbelts. One boy was found in the car's boot.
It's understood alcohol may have played some part in the crash.
Hardcore believed there was a reluctance to tackle alcohol-related issues at a legislative level, given its cheap pricing and prevalence in advertising and sponsorship.
"How do we normalise drinking sensibly or not drinking at all, I think that's also an important part of the conversation."
Hardcore, in his 40s, said traditional concepts of masculinity and manhood needed to be updated for the frequency of such tragedies to reduce.
"We consistently have to show how tough we are as boys to our peers and that hasn't changed since I was a young man, which was a long time ago now.
"If we can get counter-narratives in our education system for our boys to look towards, I think that's going to go a long way."