An english teacher has resigned after having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy in her class.
Twenty-three-year-old Natasha Miller - employed as a student teacher at Tararua College - confessed yesterday to a five-week affair with her Year 12 English student Hayden Macdonald.
"It's awesome," Hayden told the Herald on Sunday yesterday.
"Some of the kids that know, you just ignore them - some of them think it's pretty cool. She was a student teacher... It was just like a growing interest."
Miller said she and Hayden were still together and hoped now everyone would "just leave me the hell alone".
Tararua College principal Glynis De Castro did not return phone calls yesterday.
The boy's stepmother, Gaile Macdonald, only found out about the relationship after Miller's text messages were discovered on Hayden's mobile phone.
She informed police, but was told they could do nothing because Hayden was 16 and legally over the age of consent. She then informed the school and three weeks ago Miller resigned.
Miller confirmed yesterday that she and Hayden had had consensual sex before she had resigned as a teacher at the school.
She said the relationship had "snowballed" out of control and in hindsight she probably should have resigned earlier.
"I'm aware that people are going to continually judge me for this and, you know, whatever... But that's not all of who I am, you know? I'm going to be judged on one thing."
She was well aware the affair would mean she was unlikely to ever get a teaching position again - but she had only planned on staying in the industry until she had saved enough money to travel.
She would not say whether she and Hayden were in love.
"Well, no white picket fences just yet," she said.
Hayden said when the affair was discovered by his mother he had been told to move out of home. He was staying put for the meantime and planned to return to school next year.
He admitted it was "weird" dating a teacher.
"[A teacher] can't improve [a student's] grades, because everything's moderated. I suppose they could treat you differently in classes, but that's up to them I suppose, really."
Miller said she was most concerned about how the affair could reflect on the school, and knew De Castro was disappointed with her.
Gaile Macdonald said if Miller hadn't been her son's teacher she would have had no problem with the relationship.
"It hasn't fizzled out because the relationship's still going on, but the teacher-pupil thing - we didn't have to worry about it any more," she said.
"If I'd met her under different circumstances I'd probably quite like her. She treats him nicely, and that's all you can hope for with any of your kids. It was the teacher-student thing... It was the sneaky deceitful stuff.
"Basically, she's probably a really nice person. She's just been caught up in something that she probably didn't wish for either."
She had warned her son about considering a relationship with Miller but did not realise they were together until her daughter found Miller's text messages on his cellphone.
"He used to talk about her all the time. It was just Miss Miller this, Miss Miller that... We tried to warn him that those sorts of things can't happen. And to be careful, basically. We just thought he had a fascination with her and he would get hurt."
Macdonald said she had demanded that her son move out "because of the lies, the deceitfulness about it all - and putting us in that horrible position".
But the family had met with Miller and talked about the relationship, and decided Hayden could stay.
Miller said she was now looking for non-teaching work, but was worried the affair may affect her employment chances.
She had already completed a three-year degree at Massey University followed by a one-year teaching diploma.
She had been at Tararua College this year where she was gaining the experience required before she could apply for registration as a teacher.
Lessons in love
She was 34, a married mother-of-four and he was her 12-year-old grade school student. They had an affair, she did seven years in prison.
But somehow through it all their love lasted - and now they're husband and wife.
The story of former Seattle teacher Mary LeTourneau, now 43, and Vili Fualaau, now 22, is still today the most famous example of a teacher crossing the line with a student.
In New Zealand there have been relatively few cases of inappropriate teacher-student relationships - but those that have been uncovered have been played out in a blaze of publicity.
Probably the most high-profile case involved Tauranga schoolteacher Faryn Ripine Matthews, who in 2003, admitted having a sexual relationship with a former pupil aged 10.
Matthews, 35 at the time, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual violation and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Two years earlier Gemma Aspden also paid the price for her alleged affair with a then 17-year-old student, losing her job at Broadwood Area School.
In 2002 a Broadwood teacher quit following allegations he made sexual advances towards a 16-year-old student. In the same year the school hired Conrad Petersen, who was sacked from Buller High School nearly three years earlier over a relationship with a student there in the 1970s.