A teen caught plotting a 2017 terror attack in Christchurch is making positive strides, telling a judge today that he's got his learner driver's licence and working towards gaining secondary school qualifications.
The 19-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been coming before a judge for regular monitoring sessions after he was radicalised online.
He had planned to ram a car into a group of people in Christchurch and then stab them – telling police later that he'd "done it for Allah".
His road to rehabilitation has been rocky, already admitting three breaches of the court-imposed intensive supervision order this year, including two breaches which came after he used his mother's phone to view pornography.
In June it was revealed how he sparked a manhunt after he walked out of his supervised accommodation, saying he felt frightened.
Since police caught up with him, he's been kept in prison.
The jail time has proved a wake-up call, the teen earlier telling a judge that he is "not built for prison".
Today, his lawyer Anselm Williams said how they are working on getting the teenager back to supervised accommodation where he can undergo dedicated one-on-one psychological treatment.
A recent meeting involving various agencies was described as being "very positive".
Williams said the teen had been making "positive progress" while in custody.
Judge Stephen O'Driscoll asked the teen in the dock how things had been going.
He said he had been attending classes and achieving NCEA credits – although he wasn't sure just how many.
The teen also revealed that he aced his learner driver's licence test, getting 34 out of 35 questions correct.
The judge was impressed and when he next saw him on September 16, he wanted to know exactly how many NCEA credits he had achieved, as he needed a total of 8 to achieve Level 1.
"Keep up the good work you are doing at the moment," the judge told him.
At an earlier court appearance, the teen promised never to return to extremism.
He said how the March 15 mosques terror attack had helped him reflect on his own earlier extremist thinking.
After 51 Muslims were massacred during Friday prayer, the teen said he felt "disgust", not just for those who died and at how much it has affected the nation, but also disgust at thinking of the harm he himself could've done to "innocent Kiwis" who are "his people".