YouTube video footage of a seemingly vicious fight between two Tauranga Girls' College students has been put down to play-fighting.
The video shows two girls, wearing school uniform, punching, kicking and pulling each other's hair for about a minute as other students film, laugh and encourage the pair.
Principal Pauline Cowan told the Bay of Plenty Times it appeared the incident took place in the drama rehearsal space and was most likely a skit of some sort.
The video was posted during the summer holidays which suggested it occurred last year, she said.
"I'm confident it was a play-fight. It happened at the beginning of last year. I've spoken to two of the girls involved and they are somewhat mortified and embarrassed.
"It's something I will be following up with them."
Mariah Jones, one of the girls involved in the fight, emailed the Bay of Plenty Times to explain the situation.
"Sonya and I are good friends and classmates. We say hi to each other in school or in public if we come across each other," she said. "Sonya and I were friends before and after the fight, and we both complemented each other on our fighting skills after it.
"My friend asked to upload the video on YouTube, and I, ignorant of the consequences and thinking that it meant nothing since it was a play-fight, let her upload the video. I am now ashamed as it may soil both Sonya and my reputation."
Mariah said it was all a misunderstanding and apologised to those who thought it was footage of bullying taking place. She said she did not want it to tarnish the reputation of the school.
"I don't like bullying as I was a victim in primary years, and would never make another student scared to come to school where they learn the many subjects that are offered to them, as I love learning myself."
Ms Cowan said fights, real or acted, were not appropriate behaviour.
"I have discussed the clip with our head of department for drama and she has confirmed that there is no formal context where this would be encouraged ... it is possible that it could have been part of an impromptu student directed rehearsal last year and then obviously used out of context."
Each year students were taught about the use of social media and would be again this year, Ms Cowan said.