Alasdair Hay's sprained ankle is in a moon boot, he has waves of headaches, fatigue, a fuzzy head and restless sleep from a concussion.

But the teacher of 20 years says the worst part about his injuries from a violent assault outside Rotorua Intermediate School was that it happened in front of children - children teachers spend all day teaching good values and respect to.

It's been just over two weeks since the shocking attack and now the man charged with assault - Sheldon Tawhiti-Ormsby - has admitted punching Hay in the face with a closed fist, knocking him to the ground unconscious causing him to sprain his ankle.

Read more: Man admits punching Rotorua Intermediate School teacher in face
Rotorua principals and teachers quitting their jobs, Ministry of Education figures show


Tawhiti-Ormsby, 18, from Rotorua, pleaded guilty in the Rotorua District Court yesterday to the February 27 assault.

Sheldon Tawhiti-Ormsby in the Rotorua District Court on Wednesday. Photo / Ben Fraser
Sheldon Tawhiti-Ormsby in the Rotorua District Court on Wednesday. Photo / Ben Fraser

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.

As Tawhiti-Ormsby left the school, Hay asked him to follow the flow of the traffic. The driver refused.

Hay then grabbed his mobile phone and took a photo of their Toyota vehicle, prompting the occupants to start verbally abusing Hay.

The summary said Tawhiti-Ormsby then got out of the vehicle and "charged" at Hay, punching him to his face causing him to stumble and fall.

When police spoke to Tawhiti-Ormsby, he said he was "angry at the victim because he thought the victim was being cheeky".

Hay, who has taught at Rotorua Intermediate School for the past 12 years, said the whole incident was a massive shock to him.

"I remember seeing him in front of me, then I felt the thump on my head."


Hay blacked out for a moment and when he came around, he was on the ground trying to get up.

"It just seemed so crazy to me that someone would react like that to the situation. If you have a problem come and talk to me about it.

"The worst thing for me was that it was in front of the kids. I will deal with the injuries but the kids shouldn't have to.

"I've had a letter from a kid who said he's now a bit nervous. This incident was a one off but when you see violence it affects you and no one should have to see that sort of stuff."

Tawhiti-Ormsby has been ordered to do restorative justice - if Hay agrees - which will see the pair meet face-to-face.

Rotorua Intermediate School. Photo / File
Rotorua Intermediate School. Photo / File

Hay said he hadn't had a chance to think about whether he wanted to take part.

"It's a weird thing wanting to go and meet the person who has punched you in the face. It depends if the meeting is genuine or not."

Despite the ordeal, that attack hasn't put Hay off teaching.

"It was a one-off thing. We go out to make sure the kids can leave school safely and he reacted badly to it. You get grumpy parents every now and then but nothing like this."

He said his case had been referred to ACC in case his recovery took longer, but he hoped to get back to work soon - but how soon no one could judge.

Hay had started teaching science this year after previously being the drama, performance and media teacher and admitted it was starting to get him down he couldn't get back to it.

"I can't be at school teaching science because of that guy punching me in the head. I'm having to make up these programmes for a reliever to do and I can't do them or see how they are going or experience it with the kids and it's frustrating.

"You get started on something and you're really passionate about it and you can't be working because of that guy."

Meanwhile, in court yesterday Judge Greg Hollister-Jones remanded Tawhiti-Ormsby on continued bail to reappear in court on May 10.

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.

Outside the court, Tawhiti-Ormsby told the Rotorua Daily Post he didn't want to comment on his guilty plea.

When asked if he had anything to say to the teacher, he said "I will go and see him in my own time".

Defence lawyer Louis Te Kani appeared for Tawhiti-Ormsby.

Rotorua Courthouse. Photo / File
Rotorua Courthouse. Photo / File