Uni lecturer killed in Dunedin


A cyclist killed in Dunedin yesterday was a talented lecturer and father of a two-month-old baby.

Dr LiHong He, who often went by the name Chris, was struck by a truck and trailer unit while travelling north on Cumberland St about 10am.

Police said the 34-year-old may have swerved to avoid a car door when he was fatally struck.

He worked as a dentistry lecturer at Otago University in Dunedin.

He's boss Greg Seymour said the department was in shock at the loss of a "much-loved colleague and friend".

"It's very sad and shocking for the whole school. He was well-liked by all the staff and his students," he said.

"He was always willing to help out and do anything. Personally, I will miss him very much as will the whole school."

He was born in China but moved to Dunedin in 2008 after completing a PhD at a university in Sydney.

"He was an incredibly smart guy and had a very good career going in New Zealand. He had a lot to offer Otago and the rest of New Zealand and unfortunately the country will miss out on that now," he said.

He leaves behind a wife and two young children in Dunedin.

"I believe one of his children is two ... and one was only born in September," Seymour said.

"It's terribly sad for the family."

Nearly 200 of He's students had set up a commemoration Facebook page to the lecturer, where they left messages and asked for donations for He's family.

"This page commemorates an inspirational teacher, a motivated researcher, a considerate colleague, a loving husband, an affectionate father and above all, an highly admirable human being that we have all grown to know and love," the page reads.

"No measure of words or eloquence of speech can truly describe our feelings as we farewell you, Dr. He. You will be in our minds and hearts forever". 

Seymour said the page showed how popular He was with students.

"Everyone will miss him here. I think the tributes are an indication of how well-liked he was."

Senior sergeant Steve Aitken said investigations into the crash were continuing.

"It will be some time before we know what has happened. We're still interviewing witnesses and the serious crash unit is still working on their report."

Seymour said He had been biking to work at the time of the accident.

"Chris liked to bike to work for fitness. We think that is what he was doing when this happened."

The Press