Five young Maraenui men lined themselves up in front of police and members of the probation service yesterday.
But instead of grim faces they smiled, as did those they stood before them and were later applauded by.
Duane Tonga, Reece Fox, Taison Jury, Te Pahi Karetai and Hamuera Kingi had all been awarded the framed certificates of graduation from a ground-breaking new course which has been devised to take at-risk young people and advise, teach and inspire them to become part of the workforce.
And already, their futures have brightened after being told there were now jobs for them in the forestry sector which they had spent the past month training in.
Tu Tangata Maraenui, 'Empowering Maraenui Youth', has been set up to provide a course to help young people in the suburb to gain employment.
It has been steered by WINZ, the probation service, the Maraenui community police, forestry groups and the Infinity Trust which provided funding.
The course facilitator Sharlene Allen was especially proud of the way her young charges had taken on the challenge and succeeded.
"Boys, what can I say? You have all done so well. You have all passed. I loved your youth, your banter and your vigour," she told them.
"Go out there and use your knowledge - go out and make us all proud of you."
She said their dedication to completing the course was inspiring, and had already led to her being approached by other young people in Maraenui who wanted to get involved.
As the boys went up to accept their framed awards each took the time to reflect on what it had meant to them.
"At the start of it they would not have had the confidence to get up in front of people and talk like that," Ms Allen said
As WINZ work broker Mihi Waihape said, getting the programme off the ground had been long and involved, but the outcome of the inaugural course had made it all more than worthwhile.
It's success meant more courses would follow - the next due to get under way in February.
"It is all about getting them off the street and into work, and these young men have achieved that," she said.
"It is just so satisfying - they have set the way for other Maraenui youth to follow in their footsteps."
The lads themselves were modest about what they achieved.
"It was a cool course - I hope to go as far as I can in forestry," Duane Tonga said.
"Thanks for putting the course together for us," Taison Jury told the assembly.
Affinity Trust spokesman Blair Furlong had some smart closing words for the you men, and they listened to him intently.
"Remember, when you go out there and ask the boss for a job. Look them in the eye - not at the ground - look them in the eye."