One decision can change your whole life.

That was the message Boy actor James Rolleston had for Kamo High School students yesterday, and he would know.

In July last year Rolleston, 19 at the time, made the decision to drive after having a couple of drinks with friends in his home town Opotiki.

He crashed - leaving him in a coma for nearly a month and his friend and passenger Kaleb Maxwell seriously injured.

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"These actions do happen, and they happen to anyone. Judging from the marks on the road I was travelling at an unsafe speed, over the limit, and recklessly. I put myself and my close mate in the hospital and that was all because of one decision," he said.

The 20-year-old, also known for his role in Kiwi movie The Dark Horse, stood in front of hundreds of Kamo High students and spoke about his accident, his recovery, and how it has affected his life.

He told them about how he auditioned for a "massive" American film four days before his crash and two days after it the producers called his manager to say he had landed the role.

"That would have been my break, I would have been fulfilling my dream of working over in America. But because of that one decision I made I'm back here trying to get back on track in the New Zealand film industry."

Rolleston also told the students the best way to describe what it was like waking up from a four-week coma was being reborn in a 19-year-old body.

He had to relearn how to talk and walk, and how to brush his teeth.

"The road to recovery for me has been very tough. I've had a lot of support around me from my friends and family.

"[After] months and months of recovery I can walk fine, I can talk fine, I can brush my teeth fine, I just appreciate it a lot more. This car accident had made me appreciate life more."

Renee Thornley, Brooke Laird, and Caitlyn Redwood were excited to get their picture taken with James Rolleston. Photo/John Stone
Renee Thornley, Brooke Laird, and Caitlyn Redwood were excited to get their picture taken with James Rolleston. Photo/John Stone

After speaking, students were given the opportunity to ask the actor some questions.

Rolleston said it was important for him to share his story with the students.

"I don't want them to go through what I went through. I feel like I can be a voice because people appreciate and enjoy watching me do what I do, watching me act and perform, so they'll listen to me."