Nau mai haere mai.

Sexuality education is back in the news after reported comments from National Party deputy Nicola Willis at a town hall meeting in the South Island. Willis seemed to suggest sexuality education was best left to parents, while schools should focus on the basics.

But is this what parents are actually saying? Do they really want to be the sole educators on the topic of relationships, sex and gender identity? According to research from the University of Canterbury’s Tracy Clelland, the answer is probably “no”.

According to Clelland, “As contentious as the topic can be, many parents want to work with schools to educate their children about relationships and sexuality.”

What parents do want from their children’s schools is more consultation about the curriculum – something most schools are failing to adequately provide. Clelland warns that if we don’t work together on this, children will rely on friends and pornography to answer their questions on how to navigate intimate relationships and sexuality.

There is plenty more to read here and on our homepage, including Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll’s timely analysis of why overdue adoption law reform has been stalled for so long in New Zealand.

As always, thank you for reading. Until next week, mā te wā.

Debrin Foxcroft

Deputy New Zealand Editor

Ignore the politics – many parents want to work with schools on sexuality education

Tracy Clelland, University of Canterbury

A vocal minority is calling for sexuality education to be pulled from schools. But my research shows many parents and young people want and need safe places to discuss relationships and sex.

‘Nobody’s child’ – despite a compelling case for reform, NZ’s adoption laws remain stuck in the past

Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll, University of Canterbury

Nearly everyone agrees the 68-year-old Adoption Act is not fit for purpose. So where is the political will for change, and how much longer do families touched by adoption have to wait?

Hunting for a ‘golden unicorn’: how NZ charities find banks constantly get in the way of them helping people

Jane Horan, University of Auckland

People from NZ charities and not-for-profits told me volunteers and paid staff can spend months on basic banking processes. But just one ‘golden unicorn’ bank employee can make all the difference.

NZ’s first national security strategy signals a ‘turning point’ and the end of old certainties

Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato

New Zealand faces “more geostrategic challenges than we have had in decades”, according to the defence minister. A broad defence and security reset aims to prepare the country for what may be ahead.

Dolls and dollars: why small businesses should be wary of cashing in on Barbiemania with their branding

Graeme Austin, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington

The temptation to cash in on a global phenomenon might be strong. But Mattel has a history of fiercely protecting the Barbie brand with legal action.

Counting the wrong sheep: why trouble sleeping is about more than just individual lifestyles and habits

Mary Breheny, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington; Rosie Gibson, Massey University

Self-help articles and books usually point to the things we can do personally to get a good night’s sleep. But the wider social and economic causes of insomnia deserve more attention.

From our foreign editions

What is POTS? And how is it related to long COVID?

Marie-Claire Seeley, University of Adelaide; Celine Gallagher, University of Adelaide

Everyday tasks, such as washing your hair, become impossible.

10 years of homegrown horror hits: Talk To Me and the golden age of Aussie horror

Jessica Balanzategui, RMIT University

Our new wave of horror carries the legacy of Australia’s strong horror history – while finally signalling the shedding of some cultural biases.

The strange history of ice cream flavours – from brown bread to Parmesan and paté

Lindsay Middleton, University of Glasgow

Chicken pâté was mixed with gravy, gelatine and whipped cream, before being frozen in decorative cups.

How canny marketing and strong supply links gave the world a taste for Scotch whisky

Niall G MacKenzie, University of Glasgow

Scotch whisky has grown its export business in recent years by developing smart marketing strategies and strong distribution networks.

More adults than ever have been seeking ADHD medications – an ADHD expert explains what could be driving the trend

Margaret Sibley, University of Washington

The COVID-19 pandemic may have played a considerable role in the uptick of adults being treated for ADHD. But more data is needed to determine whether the trends will continue.

What are Hollywood actors and writers afraid of? A cinema scholar explains how AI is upending the movie and TV business

Holly Willis, University of Southern California

What would you do if the industry you work in could clone your skills, style and even the way you look and sound?

The ‘Gulf Stream’ will not collapse in 2025: What the alarmist headlines got wrong

Andrew Weaver, University of Victoria

Recent headlines around the supposed impending collapse of the Atlantic currents remind us of the importance of avoiding sensationalism in facing global warming.

Umlungu: the colourful history of a word used to describe white people in South Africa

Andiswa Mvanyashe, Nelson Mandela University

The word shows that language isn’t static, it evolves to reflect developments in a society.