All the world is a stage for Ava


Rangiora's Hartley School of Performing Arts students, from left, front row, Zoe McKinlay-Clarke,...
Rangiora's Hartley School of Performing Arts students, from left, front row, Zoe McKinlay-Clarke, Casey Montgomery, Paige Columbus, Ava Hurst and Kenzie Stanger perform with the school's Senior Glee singers during the recent North Canterbury Wearable...
Ava Hurst is living the life she wants despite becoming ''semi-tetraplegic'' after a head-on car crash.

The 14-year-old from Rangiora was 22-months-old when the crash occurred, leaving her critically injured with a serious spinal injury, bruised heart and a broken clavicle. She spent 6½ weeks in intensive care at Auckland's Starship Hospital, four more weeks in Christchurch Hospital after that, and has had multiple surgeries over the years since then.

The crash left her with what is termed incomplete tetraplegia.

Earlier this month, Ava showed what she is made of by delivering a knockout performance on stage in the Rangiora Town Hall with other Hartley School of Performing Arts (HSPA) students during the North Canterbury Wearable Arts show.

The Rangiora New Life School pupil is comfortable in the limelight, something she has grown accustomed to because of the countless medical procedures she has had since the car crash.

''All the focus has been on me,'' she says. ''I quite like being the centre of attention and on stage I get to be someone I am not. I forget my disability.'' Ava is a natural on stage and she hopes her performance will inspire other people in a wheelchair to do whatever they want to and not let their disability stop them.

Ava's mum, Nikki Hurst, says her daughter loves the theatre.

''She is in her element on stage and auditions for everything. She has a lot of energy and doesn't let her disability hold her back. She is pretty cool.'' Nikki says there is no reason disabled people cannot achieve what able-bodied people can.

''It just takes certain people to think a little bit outside the square sometimes to achieve that,'' she says.

''Dale (Hartley at HSPA) has been great at doing that.''

Ava did all her own makeup for the show. She hopes to become a makeup artist and eventually own her own make-up business.

She intends to study for a Bachelor of Product Design and a Bachelor of Business at Canterbury University to help achieve those goals.






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