Many a legend came to life on Litt Park Theatre's stage last week - thanks to the talents of Te Puke High School's Te Ringa Awhina students.
The special education unit's performance - called Legends Amongst Us - went ahead after being delayed due to August's Covid-19 lockdown.
It featured legends from Māori folklore as well as some of New Zealand's greatest, including Jonah Lomu and Sir Edmund Hillary. Even the legendary stoush between Kiwis and Australians over just who was the original pavlova creator featured.
There are 20 students in the unit and most made it onto the stage at some point.
The unit's leader of learning Adi Sutherland says the performances were ''pretty special''.
''It was so good for us to showcase the abilities of our students,'' she says.
It is the third time the unit has put on a stage performance, but Adi's first.
''We did talk about doing it last year, but things were not too flash. Actually the same thing happened this year and it was going to be in term 3 but we had three weeks' lockdown.''
The students had a lot of input into the production from ideas to script writing.
''It's really neat that they can co-construct those things. Josh wrote his own [script - about Jonah Lomu] and [author] Angie Belcher came in to help Samir and Daniel [with their Sir Edmund Hillary vignette], but really they did it themselves once we had talked about what had actually happened.''
Adi says the students got a lot out of performing for an audience.
''It's huge learning for them and I think they have surprised themselves with their abilities.
''We'd walk up to Litt Park Theatre each day and practise and just the confidence in them - some of them completely blew us away with their mana on the stage.''
The newest students were encouraged by the older unit members.
''They will all take away different things, but this will be a memory they will never forget being part of. You can come to school and do your ABCDs, but we are not really about that, we are about life skills and being part of the community which is what I'm really passionate about.''
The show was directed by Michelle Cliff of Te Puke Repertory.
''Some of them were a bit shy to come on stage, so finding ways to showcase their talents was great and Michelle is very good at that,'' says Adi.
It was Michelle's third time at the helm of a Te Ringa Awhina production, with her involvement starting after a visit to the unit with her grandson.
''I wanted to do something with these kids and thought they should do some drama. So I offered.
''I love it. I do it voluntarily, just for the sheer enjoyment of the kids, for myself and for the audience - it really fills your joy bucket.''
She says the key is finding a way to celebrate each student's individuality.
''We were able to adapt to everybody's ability.''
She says she is grateful to Te Puke Repertory for making the theatre and big screen available and to Collision Theatre Company's Sammie Campbell who choreographed the dances and helped with filming.