Bream Bay College student Jade Taiaroa says winning Whangārei Showquest two years in a row was great for the school - but the most important thing to her was doing her mum's story justice.
The Year 13 student's mum inspired the school's winning piece at the performing arts event at Whangārei's Forum North on Tuesday night.
"Our theme was based on a true story of when my mum left Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
"She came here as a refugee when she was 9," Jade said.
Jade was co-leader of the school's performance with Kristyna Haywood.
She said the idea to base the performance on her mum's story came after she and some friends were speaking about who they wanted to become outside of the workplace, and mentioned their mothers.
"I was talking about how I admired my mum so much, and they were all like let's just do my mum's story because it's still an issue happening now."
Jade said it was difficult deciding what part of her mum's story to portray - whether to focus on being a refugee, the reason behind leaving a third world country, or the journey itself.
"We focused on the fact that although this massive event had happened in my mum's life, my mum always speaks about how she is so thankful for it. She is a successful woman and she's proud of herself. Even though this all happened it didn't bring down her success in anyway."
Jade said preparation for the performance began in February.
"It was really stressful but we did feel as though we made a little family," she said.
Showquest is staged nationwide by Rockquest Promotions. The event replaced Stage Challenge last year after organisers announced it could no longer continue after 25 years of student performances.
This year was the second time Bream Bay College took out first place, but Jade said winning wasn't the main goal.
"Being such a small school it feels so great," she said.
"But I think the main stress on myself and Kristyna was doing my mum's story justice - it wasn't the fact there was a win or a lose."
Jade said she believed she had done that, and her mum was proud.
Bream Bay College was up against four other Northland schools on Tuesday including Dargaville High School, Dargaville Intermediate, Ōnerahi Primary School and Whangārei Girls' High School.
Whangārei Girls' High School placed second and Dargaville High School third.