"Ruby wasn't really like anyone else we had ever met.

"Ruby was a kind, strong, and loving girl.

"She was an amazing dancer, her creativity flourished into everything that she did, making her an even more exceptional human being.

"She was our dancing queen."

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Those are some of the words from friends and teachers of Ruby Hayvice after they dedicated their Showquest performance to Ruby, a year after she died from cancer.

Kāpiti College performed a stunning production at the Wellington regional Showquest last week, bringing home four awards from the nationwide arts event for primary and secondary schools involving all aspects of the performing arts.

Kāpiti College performing a tribute to Ruby Hayvice at ShowQuest in Wellington last week. Photo / Wyre Studio
Kāpiti College performing a tribute to Ruby Hayvice at ShowQuest in Wellington last week. Photo / Wyre Studio

With themes including Pākehā and Māori land wars, influencing people through music, water pollution and climate change, Kāpiti College's theme was a tribute to their dancing queen, Ruby Hayvice.

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on January 5, 2017, Ruby battled for over a year before dying on April 3 last year aged 16.

"Right before Ruby passed away she asked us if we could dedicate our next Showquest performance to her story and her journey and so we decided to honour that," Kāpiti College teacher in charge Abby Craig said.

Kāpiti College students after their performance.
Kāpiti College students after their performance.

"The concept was worked on by Ruby's five friends Madi Hodgkinson, Antonia Lawson, Giana Saunders, Maggie Lucas and Pippa McCormack-Wolf, who came up with the story line and portrayed how they thought Ruby would have liked it, liaised with her family and put together a beautiful story."

The performance started with photos of Ruby on a big screen in the background, with one of her friends talking about Ruby as a dancer and cancer.

The first dance was Ruby in her everyday life with all the different groups she was part of.

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"It was just her dancing among all her friends, and then the doctor came on and came and told her family the news," Abby said.

"So then we went through all the emotions. The next one was very sad.

"We then went into a bit of anger where she was fighting before she let go and became an angel, finished off with more pictures of Ruby with daffodils being laid for her."

Lead choreographer and creative director Helenah Broughton.
Lead choreographer and creative director Helenah Broughton.

Creating this performance gave the cast of students from Kāpiti College the opportunity to remember and celebrate the life of both Ruby and Marlies Peake, another student who also died last year from the same form of cancer.

"It allowed everyone an understanding of the journey Ruby and Marlies went through," said Ruby's friends, and concept directors Antonia Lawson and Madi Hodgkinson.

"It did become difficult at times as the piece is so emotional," they said.

"Toward the end when we began putting it all together we got a bit teary seeing all the photos and hearing the songs, but I think that's what made it so amazing.

"It was raw. We weren't glorifying anything, it illustrated pain because that's how it was.

"We think Ruby would have loved our performance, not purely because of the level of skills in our dance, or the fact that it told her story, but because it brought so many people closer together.

"We created bonds and friendships, and she did that."

Kāpiti College also took home awards for best drama, best music soundtrack and best lighting, and year 11 student Chloe Graham was awarded the Outstanding Rangatahi Award for her performance as Ruby.


To watch Kāpiti College's performance click here.