Three students are completing their final year at the beleaguered Papakura High School. Along with their inspirational new principal, the students and school are fighting negative perceptions and decline in order to survive.

At the edge of the city and the margins of society, a school and its students are fighting back. Papakura High School has a falling roll, and as far as results go, it's among the worst schools in the country. The buildings are under-maintained and morale is low. Staff and students fear closure. Its community faces huge challenges: homelessness, low incomes, limited education and a high crime rate.​ Many families with money send their children to "better" schools on the other side of the railway tracks. But there is hope. Some of the students are stars, dedicated to building a future for themselves and inspiring others. A charismatic new headmaster has big plans for turning things around.

Under The Bridge

is the story of a year inside their world, the



's first foray into long-form documentary feature making.

A team of journalists spent 12 months following three young people and their principal to discover what life is really like at a struggling school and what the students need to succeed.

"The most important thing for the kids here is that there are teachers who get up every day and give them a sense of hope," principal John Rohs says.

This is Part 1 of the three-part multimedia series. Click here to see Part 2.