James Rolleston, the 19-year-old star of Boy, has pleaded guilty to the charge of dangerous driving.
Rolleston was seriously injured when the car he was driving crashed into the Otara Bridge near Opotiki on July 26 2016, his friend Kaleb Maxwell was in the car and was also injured.
Rolleston is one of New Zealand’s leading young actors, and has had starring roles in successful films the Dark Horse and the Deadlands.
Rolleston will be sentenced on May 11 in Opotiki, and released a statement to the media on Monday morning:
“I have pleaded guilty to the charge I face as a result of the accident, now that the lawyers have checked everything and helped me with the process.
“I have always intended to do this as I admit my actions and I am genuinely regretful that my actions caused the accident. I am especially regretful for the harm caused to my good friend who was in the car with me. I am grateful that we both survived and have the opportunity to make something of the lives we have ahead of us, despite the fact that I have a bit of recovery still ahead. Not everyone is that fortunate. I have learned to appreciate life a lot more and to be grateful for what I have.
“Since the accident, alongside my rehabilitation, I have been working in the community to get youth recognition of the importance of road safety. My hope is that this work, and the coverage of my story, will get other young people to take care on the roads for their own benefit and that of their friends and family. Just cause we are young, we are not indestructible, and in one stupid moment, there can be huge damage. I learned this the hard way but thankfully have a second chance. We all need to recognise this, every time, and for every second we are in a vehicle.
“I am grateful to my family, friends and the wider community for the incredible ongoing support that I have received. A part of me feels that I don't deserve it after letting everyone down by my act of stupidity that night. However, I have learnt and it is that understanding and support that strengthens my resolve to be the best I can be and to lead a positive, safe and responsible example for others in the future. I am grateful just to have the opportunity.”
Rolleston has had a difficult but successful recovery from his injuries, and presented the ACC Supreme Award at the Attitude Awards in December 2016, which recognises the achievements of Kiwis living with disabilities.
Rolleston has also been promoting his latest film Pork Pie, a reboot of the iconic Kiwi film Goodbye Pork Pie.