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Leading boxer helps out kids at school she was expelled from as a youngster

The term great New Zealander gets thrown around a lot these days, but this story profiles a genuine great Kiwi.

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Niki Arnold fought her demons. Now she’s giving back by helping others overcome theirs. Source: Seven Sharp

Niki Arnold has turned her life around after a rough start to life.

Her father was in jail, her mum an escort who lost custody of Niki when her daughter was just six.

She suffered sexual abuse, and bounced from school to school, eventually ending up at Mahurangi College north of Auckland.

After just one term she was expelled.

Now, nine years later, she's back, helping provide another safe space for kids.

Boxing was always her escape, and she hopes with her guidance will help others feel the same.

"It's just really awesome seeing them put together combinations, it's cool that they've actually learnt from what they're doing here and you can tell they're going home to practice, you can tell its something they are proud of," she told Seven Sharp.

Principal David Macleod said as a youngster Niki had a charm about her, but "was an angry girl".

He is now welcoming her back with a smile.

"She's come to work with our young children who are dealing with emotional issues in their lives especially, those carrying a bit of hurt and resentment."

"Most of those students we've seen a positive improvement, some of them it's been dramatic."