After weeks of intensive physical training 25 Rotorua students spent their weekend taking part in their biggest challenge yet.
The fifth Cactus (Combined Adolescent Challenge Training Unit and Support) programme came to an end on Saturday with the students taking part in their "Longest Day".
The Cactus course is an eight-week intensive physical training course that challenges behaviours through a disciplined training regime, based along military lines.
The programme has been running at Western Heights High School and Reporoa College since 2011.
During the Longest Day students take part in eight hours of gruelling physical and mental challenges, at the end of which they graduate from the course.
Programme co-ordinator Sergeant Steve Sutton said the course had gone extremely well and there had been some "life changing" moments for many of the students.
"We have seen a major shift in attitude from some of the students and they have learned to work as a team," he said.
"They are developing a sense of accountability in each other and themselves that they probably wouldn't have understood without participating in the course."
During the course the 25 students have been training at 6am three mornings a week and have taken part in a well organised, military-style physical training session, followed by compulsory showering and then breakfast, during which time the students are addressed by guest speakers and mentored by the Cactus crew.