"Wear something that has some sparkle and do not even think about reading out a poem ewwwh."
These are the light-hearted instructions from beloved teacher Joanne Rye-McGregor, known as Jo, to anyone who wants to come to her memorial service today at Mount Maunganui College Hall.
The 57-year-old woman died on Tuesday after a nine-year battle with breast cancer.
"Swing by and put some butterfly stickers on the box," the death notice, penned by Jo herself, reads. "No flowers, but please give the money to Waipuna Hospice."
Jo's husband, Mount Maunganui artist Rob McGregor, said her death had left "a huge hole."
"She was the other half of me, we complemented each other," he said.
He said Jo had organised everything for her send-off, including the speakers, the coffin, and the venue, and wanted the affair to be a "happy sort of thing".
"I don't know how I would've handled this otherwise. I'd be like a headless chicken," he said.
The couple were together for about 30 years.
They met when she was a teacher and he was running art programmes in schools.
"There was something about her, she was so likeable. She just attracted people to her," he said.
"She a great intelligence, a great sense of humour and was a really caring people person.
"She would always be willing to do something for everybody with no recompense, she just wanted to help people reach their potential."
Jo worked as a primary school teacher at a number of Tauranga schools, including Greenpark Primary School, Tauranga Primary School and Mount Maunganui Primary.
She spent every day on the job with zest and passion. It was never a chore to her and she always strove to go above and beyond for her students, he said.
"She was passionate about it and she was always thinking of inventive things to do with kids.
"She was a very thorough and good teacher. She was really good with children and they really did love her."
McGregor said Jo was a constant support for him throughout their marriage.
When he competed in athletics and decathlon competitions, she was there, faithfully standing on the sideline.
"I think she was the only spouse who was always there. Anything that had to be done, she was there doing it."
Every year, the couple would jet overseas and travel together.
Their backpacking trips took them on adventures through Europe, the Pacific Islands, Australia, the Middle East and Asia.
Outside her job, she ran for council, fundraised for the Ōmanu Surf Lifesaving Club and established the poetry group, Pacific Poets, and film club, Film Collective.
She was also a film director, working on various documentaries including a film for the Multicultural Society exploring the experience of immigrants moving to a new country.
Some of her documentaries about cycling safety and minimising water use are used in schools today.
Jo also featured in Western Bay Women - A Celebration of 125 Years of Women's Suffrage, a book put together by the Suffrage 125 Tauranga committee that profiled 40 Western Bay women.
One of her last creative endeavours was designing and modelling a symbolic dress to celebrate 125th anniversary of women's suffrage last year, despite being very unwell and requiring an oxygen tank 24/7.
She travelled down to Trentham Racecourse in Wellington with friends where she modelled the dress on the runway, leaving her oxygen tank on the side of the stage.
"She did things she thought were important, which was doing things in action."
Mount Maunganui Primary School principal Damien Harris said the school was saddened to hear of her death.
"She has been a significant and special part of our school and community for a number of years," he said.
"One of the lasting memories we have of Jo here is the sports mural she and Rob created with a number of our Mounties in 2016.
"It sits proudly beside our courts as a lasting memory of Jo and her many creative talents and heart for kids."
• Jo's memorial service will be held at Mount Maunganui College Hall at 2pm today.