September 20 started as a routine morning for six Westlake Boys' and Girls' High School students as they rose early and made their way to school.
Westlake Girls' High student Lasi Nuku's mother dropped her off near Pak'n'Save and she began the short walk along Wairau Rd to the school campus on Auckland's North Shore.
The sun was out as the 13-year-old joined a group of students gathered near the bus stop on the corner of Wairau Rd and Forrest Hill Rd.
Unbeknown to these happy-go-lucky teenagers was that this exact spot would become a living nightmare for them in a matter of minutes.
As the girls and boys chatted, adjusted their uniforms and planned for the classes ahead, 21-year-old Michael Abou Chaaya made the journey along Taharoto Rd.
Driving his blue Nissan Skyline, Abou Chaaya accelerated heavily as he hit the intersection of Shakespeare Rd and Wairau Rd, passing several cars and weaving between lanes.
He was travelling at a minimum of 87km/h in a 50km/h zone.
At the Forrest Hill corner, just before the bus stop, Abou Chaaya failed to negotiate a moderate left-hand bend in the road and lost control of the vehicle.
He then mounted the kerb and drove 20m along the footpath.
Lasi Nuku was the first student to come in line with Abou Chaaya's vehicle. As she tried to flee from the approaching car, she was hit from behind.
The car then continued through a fixed steel pole and struck three more people on the footpath. Two other people were knocked over from the impact.
Six students were hurt. One suffered critical injuries and another was seriously injured.
Three of those hospitalised were Westlake Girls' students and one was from nearby Westlake Boys'.
"I don't remember anything from the day. I remember that morning being at home but I don't remember leaving home or anything else from the rest of the day," Lasi said.
I couldn't believe it when I walked inside and saw her. There was just blood everywhere.
However, the incident is still very raw in Lasi's mother, Lia Filo's, mind.
"I missed a call and there was a message left from the school that said 'I'm not sure if you are aware what has happened to your daughter but can you please ring the school'.
"I sort of ignored it because I thought that she was skipping class or up to something, so I left it, but the phone just kept going and going," Filo said.
"Finally the hospital rang and told me that Lasi had been hit by a car... then I had another call from police saying that I needed to be at the Auckland Hospital. I knew then that is was very serious.
"I couldn't believe it when I walked inside and saw her. There was just blood everywhere. At that time she was on life support and I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
"It was a very hard day and I will never forget it."
It wasn't until a couple of days later that Lasi awoke and was told that she had been involved in a car accident.
"What I was told was that I was hit first and I flipped around and landed on the concrete on my stomach," she said.
"I got a lot of injuries. I had a dislocated left arm, I'd torn both ACLs and both of my ligaments were broken, I had a broken pelvis, and a broken femur."
Lasi remained at Starship Hospital for a month where she underwent two operations; one on her arm and one on her leg.
I just wanted to get out of the bed and start walking but I couldn't.
Her injuries meant she then had to be transferred to the Wilson Centre for two months of rehabilitation and to learn how to walk.
"It was hard because at times I just wanted to get out of the bed and start walking but I couldn't do anything because it was hard to move," Lasi said.
Her mother said the family visited her every day.
"She would cry because she wanted to come home but I said I can't take her because she wasn't able to walk.
"She was in agony and I remember her saying 'Mum I just want to give up. There is just too much pain'.
"There was a moment there I thought I wish it was me in that bed rather than seeing her go through all that pain."
Lasi said her main goal at this time was to learn to walk and be able to go home before Christmas.
"I was home 10 days before Christmas," she said.
"I felt extremely happy for myself. Going through all the pain and those injuries, it was worth it after I learnt how to walk again.
"It made me realise how thankful I should be that I am still walking to this day and I am still alive."
It made me realise how thankful I should be that I am still walking to this day and I am still alive.
Almost a year on, Lasi, now 14, can only attend school for three hours a day and is yet to receive another leg operation.
"I'm still not used to walking around a lot. Moving to different classes each hour is too much for me because it's going up stairs and then back down multiple times a day."
Despite her injuries, the teenager has tried to remain positive throughout the process and provide support to the other students involved.
"It hasn't affected me in the way it does to my other friends. I think it's more tough on them because they remember that day, that morning and what happened.
"Since they witnessed it all, it has been hard on them trying to get through it," she said.
"I think every time we go passed it, it brings back a lot of memories, so it is hard for them to forget and reminds them every time."
On Tuesday the school arranged a blessing at the crash site to help students with their recovery process.
The victims, their families and school staff gathered and said a karakia, sang a waiata and spoke of the second chance at life they had been given and the support they had received. Flowers were also laid at the crash site.
Westlake Girls' High School principal Jane Stanley said the school's priority had been to support the students as they reintegrate into school socially and academically.
"Our counsellors and pastoral care staff have worked closely with those students to ensure their workloads are manageable and they are supported emotionally on their road to full recovery.
"Today's blessing is one example of the ways we are helping students and their families heal from what was a life-changing event," she said.
While the victims and their families continue to deal with the traumatic event, the fate of the driver is yet to be determined.
I feel at peace with what happened... I am just grateful that I am still alive.
Abou Chaaya was charged with six counts of dangerous driving causing injury and first appeared in court in late February.
He earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges, but his plea was changed to guilty on all six counts during a hearing on August 2.
As the judge read out the summary of facts, victims and their families openly wept within the court as they recalled the event.
Abou Chaaya's parents were also present.
He will reappear for sentencing on November 22.
Lasi's mother said the court process had been long and hard.
"Having to listen to it and go through it all in court brings back a lot of memories. We just can't wait to get it over and done with," she said.
"It was very hard looking at him. I was very angry and frustrated."
However, Lasi said she doesn't hold any hatred toward the driver.
"I don't hate him at all. I have no hate against him," she said.
"I wish him all the best with the court case. I understand he caused us a lot of pain and grief but there is no point in staying angry.
"I feel at peace with what happened... I am just grateful that I am still alive."