Two teenagers were waiting for a ride home after rugby practice at Bishop Viard College in Porirua when one of them spotted a suspicious-looking man.
Oliver and Robert's otherwise normal February evening soon took a dramatic turn when they helped police arrest the man who fleeing after a stolen car crashed.
Yesterday they received an Area Commander's Certificate of Appreciation at a full school assembly for their courageous intervention.
Oliver, aged 17, was waiting in front of the school for his mother to pick him up after First XV rugby practice and told the Herald he originally didn't think much of a man who walked up and into the school building.
"Then he just came back my way and I just had this feeling, like a self-protection feeling. I just didn't feel safe so I kept an eye out and took out my earphones that I had on."
Oliver's mother was struck in traffic to make way for police cars trying to get to the scene.
She arrived around the same time as police who, Oliver said, began scouring surrounding bush.
Oliver looked back to see the same man coming down the stairs leading to the school and told his mother: "That's the guy".
"We didn't even know if the police were looking for a person - I just had a feeling it was him," Oliver said.
He and Robert, 15, moved to cover the areas leading away from the school.
The man started running towards Oliver, but then changed tack to head towards Robert, the boys said.
Robert said he "grabbed" the man by his shoulder and chest, but let go when it appeared the offender was reaching for something in his pocket.
A dog handler then caught up with the boys asking which direction the man had gone.
They followed the handler about 10 steps behind in their rugby boots "just in case they needed help", Robert said.
The group heard the sound of breaking glass as they moved behind the school and found the offender had smashed a window to get into the main office.
"Luckily we didn't have our office lady in there at that time," Oliver said.
The dog handler lifted the dog through the broken window and followed, while the boys stood by outside.
They could see the dog handler had the offender mostly cornered, but didn't quite have enough hands while hanging onto the dog as well.
Robert smashed the rest of the window so Oliver could get inside, relatively unscathed, to help.
Oliver said he stood over the offender to make sure he couldn't get away before back-up police officers reached the scene.
"It wasn't scary at the time, it was more just adrenalin."
The pair had to stay focused, Robert said.
"Because if the police officer needed us to really do something, then you'd want to be able to do it. So you had to be shocked but, at the same time be relaxed and take everything in."
Robert has thought about entering the police force himself one day and said it was good to see first hand what they actually do.
"The risk that they take for other people, it's really inspiring, it's a tough job."
Acting response manager for Kāpiti Mana Robert Florkowski said police were pleased to recognise the pair's brave actions.
"Their courageous efforts to intervene, tackle the offender, and support the arresting officer undoubtedly assisted in preventing further harm across our district."
He said they played a vital role in stalling the offender long enough for police to be able to make the arrest.
A man is before the court facing several charges with further charges pending as the matter is still under investigation.