The ashes of Helena McAlpine will not be blasted into the Gisborne sky during Rhythm and Vines after a last-minute U-turn by the festival's organisers.

The television personality, who died in September aged 37 after a long battle with breast cancer, had requested that her remains be part of festival's New Years' Eve fireworks display.

"When I die, I'm going to get my ashes put into some fireworks which will be let off over Rhythm and Vines on New Years Eve," she had said in 2013. "That is way cool aye. Very, very cool."

Her close friend Hollie Smith, who is performing at Rhythm and Vines, shared photos on Instagram and Facebook of herself and friends packing McAlpine's ashes into a firework.


"Hard day today but it'll be worth it. Packing my best buddy Helena's ashes into the finale firework for midnight RnV. Go out with a bang my honey. Love you," she wrote.

The posts have since been removed.

Rhythm and Vines organisers had initially agreed to McAlpine's request but decided against it after meeting with the owners of the festival venue.

"Helena McAlpine had a strong personal connection to Rhythm and Vines, and it was her final wish to have her ashes scattered as part of the Rhythm and Vines fireworks display," a statement form organisers read.

"Her friends were hoping to do this tonight. However, as the organisers of Rhythm and Vines it's important that we also respect the wishes of local iwi, and after talking with them today, so can confirm that Helena's friends won't be going ahead with their original plan.

"Instead, they'll conduct a private ceremony at another time. Rhythm and Vine's traditional New Year's fireworks display will continue as usual."

The firework had long been a dream of McAlpine's, as her husband Chris Barton told the Herald on Sunday:

"Helena leaped into my life like the fireworks she wants to leave with.


"This New Year's Eve when we send her into heaven above the skies of Gisborne I will remember a woman with no equal, a beautifully charismatic woman who changed so many lives for the better, and who leaves me with an amazing dress-up box of memories, experiences and wonderful friends."

McAlpine was a champion for breast cancer awareness, telling the Breast Cancer Foundation: "Before I die, I want to get a message to every woman in the country that they need to look after themselves and their friends and family."

The young television personality died in September this year after a long battle with breast cancer. Photo / Supplied
The young television personality died in September this year after a long battle with breast cancer. Photo / Supplied

She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

In October 2012 she told the Herald she did not want to be remembered as the girl who died from cancer, but as a "good-time party girl who's a highly irresponsible adult with a heart of gold, though".

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