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Childfund New Zealand has apologised for screening adverts showing the plight of African orphans on children's channel Nickelodeon.

Two complaints were laid with the Advertising Standards Authority, one from a woman concerned the appeal was shown during morning ad breaks.

The voiceover says: "In the slums of Africa rain doesn't always bring relief. It brings death. Rain spreads disease that kills a child every 20 seconds... Right now orphan children are dying. You can help them."

The woman said her daughter had become distressed that she was expected to sponsor a child and hadn't.

Childfund marketing manager Kathy McKay said upsetting children was the last thing the charity wanted.