Redheads say they are here to stay

Red will never be dead, loud and proud red-haired Southerners say.

A theory suggesting the red hair gene could vanish as a response to climate change has been scotched.

Braxton Mackenzie-White's impressive red beard bristles when asked about a Scottish geneticist's hypothesis that high temperatures and more sun could result in fewer carriers of the red hair gene.

But he has his own response: have red-haired children.

''I would love to have a whole gang of them,'' the 25-year-old said yesterday.

It is a sentiment shared by his sister Ashley (28), who also wanted to see a boost in the number of red-haired people, estimated to be about 1%-2% of the world's population.

The ''proud redhead'' was raising funds - including a fundraising quiz at the Kensington Tavern in Dunedin on July 15 - to attend the Irish Redhead Convention in County Cork next month.

The convention is billed as a celebration of red hair, and includes carrot tossing championships, the best red eyebrows and the most freckles per square inch.

And she is not going to be a tourist.

''I am going to Ireland to take out the title of Queen of the Redheads.''

Ms Mackenzie-White said she was bullied at school for having red hair and dyed her hair ''because I thought it was ugly''.

''It doesn't hurt now because I am really fierce, but when I was in high school it definitely wasn't cool ... but now I just own it.''

''When I see red-haired children I always make a point of saying: 'You have beautiful red hair. Do you know how special you are?'.''

Red-haired Dunedin man Jeremy Burdett married a redhead and they have two red-haired children.

Their household includes ''five ginger chickens, two ginger dogs and a goldfish''.

Growing up in Dunedin, he recalled few red-haired children but ''there seems to be more around'' [now].

He and the Mackenzie-White siblings said attitudes towards people with red hair appeared to have changed from when they were children, and were cool.

''I got a load of **** at high school,'' Mr Mackenzie-White said, as he points at his hair.

''But it may not have been because I was a ginger ... they may just not have liked me,'' he said, laughing.

Slow news day?

Duds must not have much on! Great photos at least.

The red scare

Reds, especially women, were thought to be 'fiery'. This is un-Anglo and impolite. Genetic evolution contends that hair colour was adaptive, to stand out from the previously favoured dark haired, blue eyed ones. 

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