Rotorua Lakes High School rules say students need to be clean-shaven, but student Kauri Huiwai-Flavell and his mother disagree.
A Rotorua mother intends to challenge her son's secondary school's rules after her son was forced to go home until he had a shave.
Paerangi Haimona said her son, Kauri Huriwai-Flavell, 15, started Rotorua Lakes High School this year but was soon warned he needed to shave his moustache or he could be stood down for disobeying the school rules.
Haimona said her son didn't want to shave but kept going to school. She said on Monday he was spoken to again by the school and told he had to be picked up from school and taken home until he had a shave.
School principal Jon Ward said Haimona had signed a document when she enrolled her son on January 28 that said they would abide by the school's rules and regulations. He said those rules needed to be enforced.
Huriwai-Flavell shaved his moustache on Monday afternoon and was back at school yesterdaybut his mother intends to address the school's board at their next meeting on March 10 to seek a change in rules.
Huriwai-Flavell told the Rotorua Daily Post he didn't see why he had to shave as it didn't affect his learning.
"I don't want to look like a little boy."
However, he said he didn't want to get into trouble so he reluctantly agreed to shave but he hoped the rules could be changed.
Haimona said she was invited to attend last week's board meeting but she couldn't as she had a tangi but she will see the board next month.
"Students should have the right to choose. He shaved it once before but it grew back more."
Ward told the Rotorua Daily Post whether you agreed with the rules was irrelevant.
"She (Haimona) signed a document saying she would abide by the school rules. You can't suddenly say a week later you don't want to ... She chose to come here."
Ward said being clean-shaven was part of the uniform's code, just as it was for boys to wear shorts.
"If there is a cultural or religious issue we take that into account. He (Kauri) has a cut on his lip at present but we told him to shave around it and just to be careful."
Ward said the rule was about students taking pride in themselves and looking tidy.
"Does it change his learning? Not at all but this is an expectation of our school. If our community wants to change our expectations down the track then that's a decision for them ... She can come to another board meeting but the board has made its decision on this."
Western Heights High School didn't respond to requests for comment and John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh and Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter were unavailable for comment.
Students at Te Puke High School are now allowed to have "clean and tidy" facial hair after a student's father pushed back at the school last year after his intellectually challenged son was "stood down" due to his facial hair.
The policy was previously that male students must be clean-shaven. This has been changed to allow facial hair that is clean and tidy.
Parent Jayson Prini said he was pleased to get change at the school for his son, Sheldon.
Te Puke High School principal Alan Liddle said last year the board of trustees had consulted students, staff, parents/caregivers and the community about the change.