Teachers at this school are more likely to be forgiven for mixing up a child's name now and again - especially when sixteen students are twins.

Out of the 180 youngsters enrolled at South Auckland Middle School, in Manurewa, there are eight sets of twins:

Micaiah and Ayla Maihi, 12, Ileli and Eyete Yobu, 13, Senerita and Josiah Hendrikse, 11, Jordie and Sarai Shannon, 12, Lucas and Lexas So'olefai, 13, Tiya and Christian Momoemausu, 14, Mangisi and Peni Asaeli, 14, and Farani and Genesis Momoemausu, 13.

Two sets (Tiya and Christian and Farani and Genesis) happen to be siblings.

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There is at least one set at each year level at the school, which takes students from Years 7 to 10, and the majority of them celebrate their birthdays in July and August.

They all come from big families - with brother and sister Micaiah and Ayla being the siblings to five older sisters - and there are a range of backgrounds: Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Cook Islands Maori and Congolese.

Teacher Rebecca Dow, who is one of the school's academic managers, said the school had had at least one set of twins enrolled at the school over the last few years.

But eight in one year was new.

"We realised it during our enrolments, at the end of last year, that there was something going on.

"One family came in and we thought: 'Oh, another set of twins'. Then there was another set and we soon realised that we had eight sets of twins enrolled for this year.''

Manurewa's South Auckland Middle School has a whopping eight sets of twins. Top row: Micaiah, left, and Ayla Maihi, 12, Ileli and Eyete Yobu, 13, Senerita and Josiah Hendrikse, 11, Jordie and Sarai Shannon, 12. Bottom row: Lucas, left, and Lexas So'olefai, 13, Tiya and Christian Momoemausu, 14, Mangisi and Peni Asaeli, 14, Farani and Genesis Momoemausu, 13. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Manurewa's South Auckland Middle School has a whopping eight sets of twins. Top row: Micaiah, left, and Ayla Maihi, 12, Ileli and Eyete Yobu, 13, Senerita and Josiah Hendrikse, 11, Jordie and Sarai Shannon, 12. Bottom row: Lucas, left, and Lexas So'olefai, 13, Tiya and Christian Momoemausu, 14, Mangisi and Peni Asaeli, 14, Farani and Genesis Momoemausu, 13. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Dow said staff had placed the different sets throughout the three school houses, known as villas.

"We've split the twins and it fires them up over the competitiveness not just between each other, but the other twins. They are all very close and know each other for it.''

Dow, who teaches 14-year-old Peni and Mangisi, admitted she still could not tell who was who.

"It's a little easier when we're in the classroom, but when the kids are all outside it's difficult.''

As the Herald was speaking with the rugby-mad twins, another teacher walking past stopped in her tracks and called out: "I didn't know there were two of you!''

Because there were so many of them, it was thought a special class photo may be taken this year.

The students themselves say being a twin is nothing special - save for the tricks they have played once or twice on teachers who confuse them, sisters Jordie and Sarai said.

Senerita and Josiah said it was nice to always have a friend.

Others pointed out the not-so-nice things about being a twin; like people mixing their names up and mum making them wear the same clothes.