Thursday's headlines: State of emergency in the Nelson region; Zealandia wildlife sanctuary asks Wellington City Council for nearly $3 million to keep its doors open; escaped prison caught in hospital toilet.
'A mother's Christmas tears' is the headline in The New Zealand Herald. Tina Bayliss, the mother of murdered Christchurch schoolgirl Jade Bayliss, has spoken for the first time since her death last month. Mrs Bayliss says she should 'have three children opening presents, not two' and that her daughter's death has changed 'everyone's life'.
The paper also features the rain that has caused havoc in the Nelson region, with a state of emergency declared on Wednesday night.
The Waikato Times reports that Fonterra is planning to bring free milk back to schools. The paper says the company is to make an announcement on Friday on "initiatives to help make milk more accessible to Kiwis", with the target believed to be young children.
The paper also reports a prisoner got a whiff of freedom when he took a toilet stop while visiting Waikato hospital on Wednesday. However, after climbing into a ceiling space and managing to get down to the floor below, he was soon flushed out and arrested by police.
The Dominion Post says one of two teenagers charged with murdering [Radio New Zealand journalist Phillip Cottrell, was already facing charges. Mr Cottrell's sister is pictured being supported by family and friends during a blessing at the spot where her brother was attacked.
The paper also reports Zealandia wildlife sanctuary has asked Wellington City Council for nearly $3 million so it can keep its doors open.
The Press reports on an interim decision by an Environment Court Judge Jon Jackson, which has deemed the Mackenzie Basin an 'outstanding natural landscape' and calls for greater recognition of conservation of the area.
However, Federated Farmers say the basin will be 'stuck in a time warp' while tourism prospers if the decision becomes reality.
Christchurch Art Gallery is taking art to the streets and the web as it waits 'in limbo' for a new opening date.
The Otago Daily Times says the partial closure of Dunedin's St John office - and questions about the state of the central fire station - has prompted a call to investigate creating an emergency services hub.
An expected protest against the Polarcus Alima, an oil exploration vessel, failed to materialise on Wednesday, as the ship berthed at Port Chalmers.