It was a busy Wednesday afternoon, school had just finished and traffic was hectic with hundreds of students waiting to head home. Science teacher Alasdair Hay was helping direct parents during pick-up and suggested to a driver to turn left, rather than right, to help alleviate traffic build-up. A man got out the passenger seat and landed a closed-fist punch to the teacher's face before getting back into the Toyota and driving off. That one punch left hundreds of students and parents shocked, and Hay with a concussion and a chipped ankle bone. More than two months later, he is still suffering from his injuries.
Rotorua teacher Alasdair Hay is yet to return to his job at Rotorua Intermediate School more than two months after he was punched by a motorist during after-school pick-up.
Hay was initially expected to be away from school for a week but it has been confirmed this week he is still suffering from his injuries and is unable to return.
Principal Garry de Thierry said the school had hoped Hay would be back for the start of Term 2 on Monday, but his persisting symptoms had put a question mark over when he would return.
"It's not very good at all," he said.
Hay still suffers headaches, difficulty with concentration and reduced mobility in his ankle from a chipped bone.
The freedom of teaching a classroom has now been swapped with restrictions on how long he can be on a computer and how much he can move.
"We don't know if he's going to be back in two weeks or two months," de Thierry said.
"I feel for him, he's just stuck at home."
De Thierry said a reliever had been taking care of Hay's class to allow for consistency but students were still concerned.
"It's disconcerting for the students. They all knew that it happened and were anticipating he'd be back."
On March 3, Sheldon Tawhiti-Ormsby, 18, from Rotorua, pleaded guilty in the Rotorua District Court to a charge of assaulting Hay on February 27.
A police summary of facts released to the Rotorua Daily Post said Tawhiti-Ormsby was a passenger in a Toyota vehicle at the school about 3pm.
The area at this time was busy with many young people around being picked up.
As Tawhiti-Ormsby left the school, Hay asked him to follow the flow of the traffic. The driver refused to do this.
Hay then grabbed his mobile phone and took a photo of their Toyota vehicle.
Occupants then started to verbally abuse Hay for taking the photo.
The summary said Tawhiti-Ormsby then got out of the vehicle and "charged" at Hay, punching him in the face with a closed fist which caused him to stumble and fall on the ground.
Tawhiti-Ormsby was remanded on bail and will reappear in court next Friday. On that date, Tawhiti-Ormsby will also be sentenced on charges of burglary and unlawfully getting into a motor vehicle, charges he had earlier pleaded guilty to.
Judge Greg Hollister-Jones also ordered restorative justice, a process where Hay and Tawhiti-Ormsby could meet if Hay agreed to do so.