New Zealand's future sports stars, leaders, doctors and engineers were part of a group of students from Manurewa High School who finished their last week of classes with a bungy jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The 12 final-year students - chosen for their commitment to the decile one school's values - jumped for free off the 40m high bridge alongside two teachers as part of AJ Hackett Bungy's JumpStart programme.

The programme began in Queenstown in 2005 in order to help prepare school leavers for the challenges ahead.

Its popularity led the company to expand it to Auckland two years ago.


"The whole point of [JumpStart] is to encourage school leavers to take on challenges," said AJ Hackett Bungy's sales manager Tash Lawrence.

"When you're about to go into a world where you're not sure what's going to happen, not sure about study, not sure what job you're going to get, [a bungy jump] is a symbolic leap of faith.

"If they can do this, they can do anything."

For head girl Sau Fatuleai, the opportunity to face her fear of heights and make the jump was a major accomplishment.

"We've just completed 13 years at school and are about to head out into the big world next year.

"This was a way of letting loose and having some fun.

"It was also a moment to step out of your comfort zone and face up to your biggest fears, challenges and obstacles."